CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine — A new, environmentally friendly floor is being installed after the high school gymnasium floor sustained major water damage.
The new flooring, made by Connor Sports Flooring, has a surface of maple harvested from sustainable forests and a substructure of recycled plastic. Covering the floor will be an environmentally safe finish.
“The entire floor system is 100 percent recyclable and it gives us an extra level of protection,” Greg Marles, the School Department’s facilities director, said.
Marles said the department wanted to use materials that would be good for the environment and that would benefit the school in the long run.
He said several hundred gallons of water were recently spilled on the old gym floor after a piece of equipment froze and pipes burst. Because the new flooring will have recycled plastic under the wood, if water does leak into it, it won’t be destroyed.
The “green” flooring system costs a little more than a traditional floor, but Marles said it’s worth the expense: $170,000, compared with $159,000 for regular flooring.
“It costs more to go this route, but the water resistance provides insurance,” he said.
Having the plastic underneath will save the school money over time because it won’t have to be fixed or replaced as frequently. He said he plans to educate students about the environmental aspect of the floor when they return to school.
“When they walk in, it’ll look like a [traditional] maple floor,” Marles said. “It’s what’s underneath that counts.”
The material also gives the floor a higher standard than average flooring. It exceeds all German Institute for Standardization ratings for ball deflection, shock absorption, vertical deflection, and area deflection, Marles said.
The new flooring can also help reduce injuries, he said, because it more effectively absorbs impact.
Installation should be complete on Sept. 2, although Marles said no one will be able to walk on the floor right away because the finish will need to dry. He said it will be available for student use on Sept. 15.
“It’s a good, environmentally friendly way of doing things,” Marles said. “It’s what Cape does.”