Washington County Public Schools continues to replace worn-out synthetic gym floors with wooden floors after discovering the synthetic floors weren’t lasting as long as expected, said Mark Mills, director of maintenance and operations.
Springfield Middle School is next in line, with installation of a new wood floor for its gym and exercise room planned for this summer. The new floors will be ready for the next school year, Mills said.
The Washington County Board of Education voted 6-0 on March 6 to award the Springfield Middle contract to the low bidder, Weyer’s Floor Service of Odenton, Md., according to a video of the meeting available at www.wcps.k12.md.us.
The bid from Weyer’s was $73,742, according to presentation documents.
This will be the sixth synthetic gym floor the school system overlaid with a wooden floor since 2001.
The Springfield Middle project has used volunteer hours to help fund the work.
Money for the project is through a Qualified Zone Academy Bond grant, which uses federal money funneled through the state, Mills said. The school system must match 10 percent of the project cost, but can do so through volunteer hours, Mills said.
This is the first project the board has approved in which volunteer hours will be used for the match.
Springfield Middle’s PTA agreed to provide the 492 volunteer hours, which it would have had 15 years to accumulate, starting last July when the bond was approved, Mills said. The number of volunteer hours was based on valuing a volunteer hour at $15, he said.
“Believe it or not, we’re there. We’ll be well over (the needed hours),” PTA President Lynne Phillips said recently.
Phillips couldn’t say how many volunteers helped accumulate the needed volunteer hours since August, but noted the school has a lot of volunteers.
The volunteer work had to take place outside the regular classroom, but the PTA met the target with volunteers doing the things they normally do, Phillips said. That included assisting with the book fair, and vision and hearing screenings; helping students prepare for the homecoming parade and extracurricular events such as band concerts; helping students academically outside the classroom; and volunteering at PTA events and school fundraisers, she said.
Mills said replacing the roof at Washington County Technical High School this summer is expected to be paid for in the same manner, with a bond grant and volunteer hours.
There was a move in the 1970s and 1980s toward using synthetic floors rather than wood floors in gyms because of a belief they would last longer, Mills said.
But school officials discovered they didn’t last as long as expected, and they can’t be refinished, as wooden floors can, Mills said.
At Springfield Middle, the gym floor and an exercise room floor will be overlaid with wooden tiles that can be refinished when the new floors become worn, he said.
Since 2001, synthetic gym flooring has been overlaid with wood flooring at Western Heights Middle, Greenbrier Elementary, Boonsboro Middle, Fountain Rock Elementary and Smithsburg Middle schools, Mills said.
Newer schools, such as Rockland Woods Elementary and Ruth Ann Monroe Primary, were built with wooden gym floors, Mills said.
Only two schools still will have synthetic gym floors.
Northern Middle’s gym floor probably will be replaced in the next couple of years, Mills said. Clear Spring Middle’s gym floor is a different type of synthetic floor and has held up, so there is no need to replace it yet, he said.
There was only one other bidder for the Springfield gym floor project — Master Care Flooring of Baltimore, with a bid of $80,568, according to presentation documents.