The basketball gym at South Pasadena Middle School constructed in 2010 will be shut down until mid-October due to the discovery of moisture in its foundation that last year began to cause buckling on the north end of the wood floor.
South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Geoff Yantz explained that while heavy rains last winter did exacerbate the visible damage, the moisture first developed during the gym’s initial construction. “There was some water intrusion from the storms,” said Yantz, “but prior to that there were some issues with the floor beginning to show signs of buckling, which is caused by moisture. One thing led to another and we began to do extensive investigative work and exploration, and subsequently the result was tearing out the entire wood floor.”
“There was shock because of how new the gym was,” said SPMS Principal Dave Kubela, who expects the reconstruction, which is progressing well after beginning in mid-June, to finish ahead of schedule, “but it was a construction issue and it’s being fixed.”
After the wood floor was removed in early summer, a coat was applied to the gym’s foundation two weeks ago to prevent further moisture from rising and continuing to warp the floorboards. The moisture is located in an approximately six-inch layer of sand sandwiched by two concrete slabs in the foundation. “Underneath the slabs, it never really dried,” said Kubela, adding, “It’s not really water, its just moist sand.”
“We really tried to research how we can keep this from happening again,” the Tiger Cub principal continued. “[The floor] would have completely warped over time if nothing was done. The one we had kind of buckled right on top of the cement. This new floor is going to have a slight rise, with air underneath. If [the gym’s construction team] had put that type of floor in we probably could have put fans in and dried it out that way. If something like this were to happen again, we could dry it out.”
One exciting outcome of the reconstruction is the increased bounce basketball and volleyball players will enjoy, something Kubela, who has a signed Pau Gasol basketball on his office counter, can appreciate.
The next step in the construction is to install the new wood floor. “The wood is in order,” said Yantz, “the biggest thing is letting the wood sit in the gym and get acclimated.”