High School's Gym Floor Repair Delayed by Supply Issues

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Work to replace the fire-damaged floor inside Edward Medina Gymnasium at EspaƱola (N.M.) Valley High School was supposed to begin June 27,  but the project remains on hold due to supply chain issues impacting the contracted company.

As reported by The Santa Fe New Mexican, fire damaged the floor last fall, and the school has been moving toward replacement ever since. EspaƱola athletic director Matthew Abeyta said Friday that he was unsure when the work, to be conducted by Stout Hardwood Flooring in Las Cruces, will begin. He said the new floor might not be installed until spring, since the gym is in heavy use from July until March for volleyball, basketball, wrestling and spirit.

Abeyta said if the installation begins later this month, it will take about three weeks before it will be ready for use. If it doesn't happen by then, the school will likely opt to wait until the spring to replace the floor.

"We decided to go ahead and postpone [the project] until all of the supplies come in so they can start and finish and add some time for curing," Abeyta said. "We have no idea when that will be. We're just doing what we can."

According to the New Mexican, the floor was damaged in early November when the sound system in the middle of the gym caught fire and fell onto the center-court scoreboard above the floor, which also became engulfed in the flames. Both structures fell to the middle of the court, damaging it.

EspaƱola held its winter sports practice at Carlos Vigil Middle School and a few elementary schools while repairs were made to the court to make it playable for the rest of the season. Teams returned to Medina in December, but the lighter-colored patch at center court, plus the primer used to cover burn scars on other parts were readily apparent, according to the New Mexican.

The school also used a modular scoreboard that showed the score and time remaining in several spots around the gym and had a makeshift sound system by the scorer's table.

New wall-mounted scoreboards were to be installed this week. Abeyta said these scoreboards will be easier on coaches and players, who had to strain their neck to view the score, time and fouls on the floor-standing boards.

Abeyta also said a new sound system will be set up in the corners of the gym and should improve acoustics in the gym compared to the old speakers. "We talked about it from an engineering standpoint," Abeyta said. "We will have a more balanced sound going through the facility."

The school had scheduled the floor installation for a two-week "dead" period during which basketball and volleyball would not be holding open gyms or scrimmages.

With the time frame up in the air, EspaƱola head volleyball coach Nicole Romero said she is ready at a moment's notice to shift offseason workouts to alternative available gyms in the area.

"We will make it work," Romero said. "We made it through [the coronavirus pandemic], so I'm sure we can get through two weeks."

The only problem that might occur if the installation begins during July is the postponement of weekend scrimmages and camps that give EspaƱola and other local teams a chance to compete before the regular season begins in August.

Romero added, she also was considering a youth camp, but put those plans on hold in the event the gym is not available. She said the various camps are good revenue-generators for the program, so missing on those will impact fundraising.

Romero indicated she would rather have the floor installation wait until 2023, but having a brand new court is worth moving out for a couple of weeks. "I'd rather get it done yesterday than tomorrow, but I know they're hopeful we will have it done by the end of this month," Romero told the New Mexican. "I'm looking at it positively and seeing [moving out of Medina temporarily] as a way for the program and the players to grow."

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