Bubbling floor repaired at JDHS

Posted: Wednesday, September 13, 2000

An Anchorage construction firm has repaired a section of the gym floor at Juneau-Douglas High School after a large bubble arose when it was resurfaced this summer.

Alaska Industries finished work removing and replacing the approximately 10-foot-long by eight-inch-wide section this morning, said Jim Bagley of Alaska Industries.

"The floor will be playable early next week," Bagley said from Anchorage.

There was speculation the bump was caused by maintenance crews using a wet-sand procedure to keep down dust, Bagley said, but after his crew examined underneath the floor, groundwater was believed to be the cause.

"That's an opinion," said Bagley, who was involved in completely stripping and refinishing the floor three years ago. "The moisture content in the wood has elevated over the years."

Fred Wilson, head of maintenance at Juneau-Douglas High School, said a maintenance crew scuffed the floor to improve finish adhesion, but did not sand it to bare wood. After the finish dried, a long, narrow bubble rose near the basketball hoop on the Glacier Avenue side of the gym.

Wilson said the floor has been sanded and resurfaced the same way in the past. He said because the floor is not sanded to bare wood, water can be used to keep down the clouds of dust.

"It's the standard recommended procedure," Wilson said. "That's the way we've done it in the past."

After the bump occurred, large heaters were placed near it, but it only dropped slightly, Wilson said.

Bagley said Wilson is working to improve the air-flow underneath the floor to keep down moisture levels.

"The key will be if the migration of water has been slowed or stopped by the change in air flow," Bagley said. He added that if the problem had not been taken care of, the entire floor could have been in jeopardy.

The bump has been affecting local sports teams and gym classes at the high school. The Crimson Bears volleyball team was forced to move its season-opening 2000 Southeast Jamboree to the gym at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School.

The volleyball team has two home matches this month, including one this weekend with Ketchikan that will be moved to the high school's auxiliary gym, said head volleyball coach Sandi Wagner.

"I've got 64 kids signed up for volleyball and I've got to run them all on two courts," Wagner said. "It's tough."

Head basketball coach and physical education teacher George Houston said P.E. classes have been heavily impacted. A large curtain cut the gym in half to cordon off the bubble.

"It virtually makes the gym unusable for P.E.," Houston said. "We only have half the gym, which is cozy."

Before work began, Houston said he was concerned it might cause dead spots or compromise the integrity of the entire floor, necessitating it be replaced.

"That's the worst-case scenario," Houston said. "And that's a big item. That's not something you do overnight."

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