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New Athens High gym floor

New Athens High gym floor New Athens High gym floor

Old floor removed by donated labor earlier this week

Athens High School seniors will walk across a shiny new wood floor at their graduation ceremony in the high school gymnasium this summer, should it still occur given the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Athens Board of Education voted unanimously at last Wednesday’s special meeting to hire Baseman Floors of Appleton to install a new wood gymnasium floor.

Steve Janke, an Athens school board member who owns Janke General Contractors, donated his work crew to remove the old high school gymnasium flaoor, saving the district $15,000 off of the $105,000 total project price.

His workers, including Athens High School seniors Kaden Redmann and Trystan Cator, began cutting and removing 4x8 foot sections of the old gymnasium floor on Friday. They finished the job on Tuesday.

Jamey Handschke, Athens school district buildings and grounds supervisor, expects Baseman Floors to begin working on Monday to install the new high school gymnasium floor. He expects the new gymnasium floor to be completely installed by the first or second week in July, or in time for the Athens High School graduation ceremony tentatively scheduled at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 25. Jeff Mastin, Athens schools superintendent, reiterated on Tuesday that Athens High School still plans on holding a traditional graduation ceremony in the gymnasium–although it depends on the trend of people in the area who test positive for COVID-19. Mastin said if the graduation ceremony can’t be held in July, it would take place in the gymnasium sometime in August.

If a traditional graduation can’t take place this summer, Mastin said a virtual graduation ceremony would be held in August to allow families of senior students closure before the new school year begins. School board members discussed last week whether replacing the high school gym floor or track, which has large cracks in it, was the biggest priority. Mastin agrees with the school board’s decision to begin with the less expensive project of installing a new high school gymnasium floor.

“We wanted to start by taking care of a smaller project, so then people can see how successful it was to install a new gymnasium floor and then they might want to donate money toward a bigger project of replacing the track in the future,” Mastin said.

Handschke said it will cost between $50,000 to $100,000 to resurface the track, which would then need to be resurfaced again five years later. He estimated it would cost $300,000 or more to replace the track.

“In the conversations I’ve had, once you touch the track itself now you need to move the retaining wall because it’s too close to the running surface,” Handschke said. “All the lights would then need to be redone and the light posts moved back because they are too close to the running surface. Things would need to be done this way in order to meet code, and we also can’t use the existing light poles. If we did anything more than just resurfacing the track, then we’d have costs through the roof.”

Mastin collaborated with Athens School Board members Julie Guenther and Shanon Peel to develop a fundraising plan for the remaining $45,000 needed to pay for the gymnasium floor project. They decided to recognize people and businesses that donate money toward the project with plaques hung on a wall inside the high school. A platinum donor is $10,000, gold $5,000, silver $1,000 and bronze $500.

People or businesses can contact Mastin, Janke or Athens School Board president Tim Krueger if they are interested in donating money toward the new high school gymnasium floor project.

Sections of the Athens High gymnasium floor