The first basketball hoops are in place in the new athletic center as final assembly has begun. “Our wood guy will be out next week to check flatness of the floor and do a moisture test on the concrete,” said Matt McKinley, senior project engineer for Devcon. From the ground up, a gym is emerging.
A vapor barrier will be installed between the concrete and the wood floor, but the concrete must first cure sufficiently so that the wood won’t be affected. Harker has opted to install a floor that will take a heavier load than normal so it can keep a power lift in the gym to service lights and the athletic equipment if necessary, McKinley noted.
First things first: final sealing of the building is underway. The “leave-out bay,” the huge opening in the south wall used to bring in big fixtures and take out heavy construction equipment, has already been framed over. “We are closing that out so we can get the whole exterior tuned up and done,” said McKinley. Devcon will leave one of the four lifts still in use for Harker and remove the remaining lifts using a temporary overhead crane, an interesting feat of engineering.
The entire gym has been drywalled, and drywall is going up in all the offices on the gym level, as well as the training and locker rooms on both levels. Tectum acoustic panels are stacked and awaiting installation on the gym walls (for more on how the athletic center interior components are tailored to function throughout, see Harker News). The large images of athletes that will adorn the south wall have been chosen and are in production.
Moving up the walls, the east viewing area, located off of the second floor workout room near the performing arts center, is framed in and ready to be finished. It will protrude a bit from the wall, making the whole gym visible. The north viewing area, nearest the administration building, is also ready to be completed. This platform will be reserved for those in wheelchairs or otherwise needing easy access, with the elevator nearby to allow access to the gym floor level. This viewing area will have some nice features, with wood ceiling panels. “It is basically an acoustical ceiling,” said McKinley. “It does have acoustical values for limiting sound transfer.”
The north viewing area also will feature “maple panels on the facades,” McKinley said, pointing to the vertical surfaces, “here and on the returns,” around the sides. The rough angle-iron and steel cable rails now keeping workers safe will be replaced by stainless steel rails with glass guard rails.
Continuing on up, the basketball hoops are just the first of the fixtures going on the ceiling. Nets and other equipment also will rise for storage near the ceiling after use, and there will be a dividing curtain to split the gym for multiple uses. That work is taking place the first week of May.
The following week, the electric curtains for the long banks of windows will be installed, said McKinley. All wiring for the athletic equipment, curtain and shades is in, ready to be hooked up. The control panels for all the equipment will be located near the coaches’ offices.
Finally, way up at the top, off to the sides along the walls, will be the ventilation ducts. The huge tube sections, 3 feet in diameter and 20 feet long, lay about the gym floor, having been painted earlier in the week. The straps that will hold the ducts in place already hang from the ceiling. It’s fun to think these great tubes will hang, unnoticed for the most part, along the walls for many years, as they quietly add to the ambiance created by the activity and shouts of athletes and the cheers of spectators in the new athletic center.