True, it’s just a floor. But as with so much in life, there’s much that lies beneath the surface.
This summer, Shady Hill replaced its 11-year-old, 13,500 square-foot gym floor, which had buckled in places and couldn’t be refinished. Over six weeks, New England Sports Floors installed 32,488 maple boards that hailed from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The crew used laser beams to survey and adjust the floor’s five layers so that its flatness varied less than 1/8 of an inch in every 10-foot radius. Called a “resilient” floor, the maple boards and subfloor rest on foam bars that provide shock absorption for athletes. Not only can the floor deflect up and down but spacing along the perimeter allows it to expand and contract laterally as temperature and humidity levels change.
“Your floor is ‘related’ to others I’ve installed for the Celtics, Harvard, and UMass Amherst,” said project manager Jim Zorbas. “It will last 50 years as long as you keep water off it. That’s what keeps me up at night—the way moisture and humidity affect a floor. Once people know all that’s involved in a huge wooden floor like this, they never see the absolutely level, perfectly joined, glistening boards the same way.”