By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — The basketball gym floors in Mark Branch Fieldhouse and Newkirk Middle School (NMS) will soon be overhauled, as Newkirk Public School (NPS) is rehabilitating them for many more games into the future.
The Fieldhouse floor was destroyed by the deep freezes during the February polar vortices. Work on the floor began last week.
“The February storm burst some pipes in the Mark Branch gym. It flooded the locker rooms on the north side and the south side, and the wood floor was actually buckled, so we have to replace it,” said NPS Superintendent Scott Kempenich.
NPS is using insurance funding for the cost and has turned to Sports Unlimited for the work. Sports Unlimited also put in the floor in the new gym, and the new floor will have a similar design.
“They’re putting a matching gym floor in the Mark Branch gym, and it’ll have the same logo as the new gym,” he said.
The NMS gym is also being refurbished, with a new new rubber covering on top of the existing tile, he said. The cost will be about $30,000.
The floor is much needed, as the gym is used for elementary and middle school physical education classes, cheer practices and NASA activities, among other events.
“The gym is used every day. It is the oldest gym floor that NPS has now, so replacing it will be nice,” Kempenich said.
Kempenich is happy with the upgrades and feels the needed upgrades will help the gyms last for many years to come.
“I’m excited the floor at Mark Branch Fieldhouse getting replaced will really help our basketball teams. It’ll be nice to have a good floor to practice on,” he said. “It’ll also allow us to have two gyms, so we could have future tournaments in multiple gyms if needed.”