Shelton High gym floor replacement work begins

The Shelton High gym floor, damaged after an accident in April, is being removed this week. The floor will be replaced with new wood. The gym is closed during the work, and there is no timetable for completion.

The Shelton High gym floor, damaged after an accident in April, is being removed this week. The floor will be replaced with new wood. The gym is closed during the work, and there is no timetable for completion.

Contributed photo

SHELTON — Work has begun on replacing the high school gym floor — but no timetable for completion is available as school prepares to open Sept. 8.

Superintendent Ken Saranich said the removal of the damaged wood floor has begun. The damage is the result of a batted ball that broke a sprinkler head, causing water to shower onto the floor for some time before it was shut off.

The gym floor, originally installed in the 1970s, has been buckling and deemed unsafe for activities — such as physical education classes and athletic contests — since the accident during April break.

“The insurance company has deemed the floor needs to be replaced, so, in the meantime, there will be no use of the gym floor for any activities,” Saranich said.

Mayor Mark Lauretti, who has faced criticism on social media and in letters to the editor for moving too slowly on the work, said he was not informed until late May, and the pandemic has impacted the ability to receive necessary materials.

The city has taken over the floor’s repair and replacement, since the high school is a city building. The city will pay a $10,000 deductible, with the insurance carrier paying the remainder of the cost.

Saranich said, during an indoor baseball practice in April, a baseball player taking batting practice in an indoor batting cage hit a ball that went through an opening in the cage netting. The ball then struck a piece of the sprinkler system, breaking the valve and causing water to continually flow onto the floor.

Saranich said school maintenance was able to shut down the water, but the damage had already been done. It took time to dry out the area, but water seeped under the wood, causing buckling and making it dangerous for students to play athletics on it.

Saranich said physical education classes will mostly be held outdoors, and varsity sports, particularly the fall volleyball season, would be relocated to another school gymnasium if the high school remains unavailable. Lauretti pointed out that Shelton Intermediate and Perry Hill schools have available gyms.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com