• 57°

Wesson unveils new gym floor

WESSON — When the Wesson Cobras entertain the Bogue ChittoBobcats for their first home game of the season Friday night, itwill also be the debut of their brand new gymnasium floor. Thevarsity girls play at 6 p.m., immediately followed by the boysgame. A special ceremony will be held between the varsitygames.

The new maple gym floor cost $70,000 to replace the existing16-year-old wooden floor. Funds for the work were provided by theCopiah County School District. Sports Floor Incorporated out ofMemphis, Tenn., did the installation.

“We are very appreciative of our school board for doing this,”said Wesson Attendance Center principal Billy O. Britt. “They gaveus their approval.”

Britt said he enjoyed worked closely with School DistrictBusiness Manager/Head of Maintenance Larry Papizan on the project.”He has been great to work with,” stated Britt.

Britt explained the plans for the new gym floor began 2 yearsago.

Before the new floor could be laid down, repairs had to be madeon the gym’s leaky roof.

The ventilation system on the gym roof kept the previous floorfrom sweating. During blowing rains, the ventilation system couldnot be shut down because the floors would sweat and the rain wouldleak in. Now that problem has been fixed.

“We had some roof replacement done,” said Britt.

When the floor was torn up, the workmen discovered it had notbeen put together correctly. The wooden boards beneath the floorwere running the same direction as the floor when it should haverun across the floor.

Termite damage also was discovered. The exterminators werecalled in. They sprayed the infected areas before it was concretedover. Then the installation of the new floor began.

Britt explained that the new maple floor has strips of rubbersupporting it underneath which causes a little bounce. The maplefloor strips also allow for some expansion for the wood duringseasonal weather.

A second coat of varnish was added by the company. The firstcoat was not to the liking of the company. The workers came back toadd another coat that gave the floor the shine they wanted.

“We have a much better floor.” stated Britt. Artwork also hasbeen added to the new floor. The artwork, by the same company, cost$5.000.

Britt said boys basketball coach Ron Kessler and girls coachJemmye Ann Helms were able to select artwork that was added to thenew floor.

Joining the new big blue W in the middle of the court are a pairof hand-painted Cobras circling a basketball on opposite sides ofthe gym floor. In the inbounds lanes are the words Cobras, at oneend, and Lady Cobras on the other end.

Britt compliment the basketball coaches for keeping the gym inexcellent shape.

“Our coaches do a good job of taking care of the gym,” statedBritt. He added that the coaches themselves painted the steps,rails and the dressing room doors.

Other work done included replacing the old gym lights which hadturned yellow. The new ones make the gym brighter.

“It’s a big relief to be back on a hard gym floor,” saidKessler

“It’s good to be back here. The old gym floor was in bad shapewith a lot of dead spots.

“I try my best to have the best for my kids,” continued Kessler.”I love this gym. I love these kids.”

Helms was also pleased with the new floor.

“It is great,” said Helms. “The kids have a lot of pride in it.It makes it more enjoyable”

Helms said she and Kessler have one thing in common and that istaking good care of their facilities.

While the work was being done in the gym, the Wesson basketballteams practiced in local church gyms as well as at Co-Lin until thenew floor was ready. They returned last week to a shiny, new maplefloor.

“I want to thank the local churches and Co-Lin for allowing usto use their facilities while we were out,” added Kessler.