By Olivia Timm 
BELLEVILLE – After more than 40 years of athletes running and jumping on the Loyalist College gymnasium floors, they will be replaced this summer.
Jim Buck, the college’s athletic director, announced in a student government meeting on Jan. 18 that the floor will ideally be reconstructed.
“Our gymnasium, historically, was built 45 years ago. When it was built, it was built as a temporary facility. They had plans at the time that the gym would just be there for probably 10 years and then the college was going to build a new athletic facility. Here we are 45 years later still with the same little gym.”
Buck said the floor has long passed its shelf life and has become a bit of a hastle because coaching staff needs to clean the surface more often than they used to.
“We are at the point now, about the last eight years, we can’t sand it anymore because there’s not enough of the actual wood left. We clean it and we varathane  it every year so it gives it a nice-looking finish, but the floor itself is in really rough shape, and it is getting to the point now where it is almost not playable,” he said.
Kierstyn Bennett, a women’s rugby player, says she has noticed the floor needs more up-keep during games.
“When I was score keeping for a home basketball game, they had to keep stopping play to wipe down the floors because they’d get slick,” she said.
The system underneath the floor gives the wood surface some movement to protect athletes against potential injury, but no one knows what Loyalist’s system looks like because it was installed decades ago.
The estimated cost of the flooring project would be upwards of $100,000, Buck said, which would come from the college’s capital budget account. Since the floor has never been replaced in the college’s gym before, he says it is unknown what the current system underneath the floor is.
Once the chosen company cuts up a section of the floor, they will have a better idea of how much a new system would cost, and then how much the total price of the project would be, according to Buck.
Another section of the gym that needs to be replaced are the doors that separate the gym and the dining hall. The doors run on a track, and like anything made of metal, will eventually wear down. Buck said it is necessary to replace the doors at the same time as the floor.
“They sort of go hand-in-hand because if you look at the floor itself, where it ends and where the tracking system for those doors run, the two companies will have to work together a little bit to make sure that everything works right,” Buck said.
Although most students would not be affected by the summer construction, Buck said there are still a few weeks of summer camps that run in the facility. The athletic department will be discussing options for those summer programs.
“We might just take a year off, because to run camps and leagues in someone else’s gym – there are challenges there. Plus, in all likelihood, they would charge us, so then you’re losing money rather than making money,” he said.
Buck said the athletic department will form a committee to vote on possible options for the flooring.
“We are in the process of putting all of the information out to companies that install gym floors. There would be a bidding process and all the submissions would be vetted by a committee and then chosen,” he said. “I hope that by mid-August, it’s all new and fresh in there and we are ready to go.”