Things are looking up for the gymnasium floor at Port St. Joe Elementary School.

Things are looking up for the gymnasium floor at Port St. Joe Elementary School.

During a workshop held on Tuesday, Hank Blackman of RAM Enterprises in Montgomery, AL. presented specs that would not only address the moisture issues that had caused the floor to warp, but also bring the gymnasium floor up to date with current standards. The project could cost the school upward of $118,000 on the high end.

Blackman analyzed the existing floor and revealed that stagnant air had made its way between the sub-floor and maple floor and disintegrated the vapor barrier.

“It’s a wide open door of moisture,” said Blackman, explaining the accelerated rot.

Blackman suggested installing a technologically advanced system that would activate blowers to dry the moisture when it was detected by sensors in the floor.

“Port St. Joe Elementary, for the foreseeable future will be located on Long Avenue,” said Superintendent of Schools Jim Norton in support of the plan. “If we’re going to fix it, let’s fix it right.”

Board member Danny Little asked if it was possible to simply restore the floor to its original condition, but Blackman said them it wouldn’t be a good idea, since the original floor contained felt and the standard was now polyurethane.

Funds for the project will come from money generated by motor vehicle tag renewals and will not be a cost to taxpayers.

According to director of finance Sissy Worley, if the board doesn’t use a large percentage of the tag renewals funds available by the end of the current school year, they will be lost. Available funds from the tax currently total $114,000.

Worley said that projects eligible for the funds must also have been on both a five-year work plan and a project priority list. The funds cannot be used for landscaping or competition-based facilities, leaving football and soccer fields out of the equation. Worley said that the board was good to go on funding and surveying and funding had been approved by the state.

The board will seek competitive bids for the project on replacing the floor to both Blackman’s high-end specifications and for restoring it to its original state. Prior to awarding the bid, the Board can cut overall costs by eliminating certain technological elements from the plan.

Once a big has been accepted, the project is expected to take 6-7 weeks to complete.

“We’re fortunate that we have the ability to address this,” said Norton. “We’re doing the most prudent thing we can do and fixing a real problem and a real situation.”