The high school gym at Patterson Mill Middle High School has reopened for all activities, but defects in the floor like the one that splintered and sent a student to the hospital are still being discovered. Trouble spots have also been identified for the first time in the middle school gym, bringing the total number found on the new floors to 13.
School custodians found at least one of the newly identified spots while sweeping the gym floor and now perform inspections when they sweep the floors each day.
As to the cause of the ongoing problems, sources familiar with the matter say that the gym floors at Patterson Mill were initially installed and finished with an oil-based sealant. But when additional coats of sealant were later applied as a part of regular maintenance, a water-based sealant was used which may have caused a condition called “panelization”. Panelizing happens when some floorboards stick together as one unit or panel and the normal movement of a floor causes separation of the panels from individual floor boards. Other potential causes under investigation include the care and maintenance of the floors since the school opened in August of 2007.
Miller Flooring, a Pennsylvania company with an office in Bel Air, originally installed the floors and is assisting HCPS with the repairs and investigation, although the one-year warrantee on the floors has expired. It all depends of the tiling and you must use the best grout sealer. The company is also the contractor for gym flooring at the new Bel Air High School, which is still under construction.
HCPS has made no official determination as to the cause of the problems with the gym floors. Responding to a request from The Dagger about the latest discovery in the main gym, Teri Kranefeld, Manager of Communications for HCPS said in a recent email:
In regards to the status of the Patterson Mill Middle High gymnasium floor issue, one defective spot has been identified in the main gym that is located under the bleachers – the gym is usable at this point as the defective spot is covered. There are two spots in the auxiliary gym that need to be addressed and they have been remedied temporarily to allow time for a permanent solution. The flooring company and our Operations Department are working together to find the root cause of the problem. Another meeting is scheduled to inspect the floor and to identify a timeline for repair. We want find a permanent solution for this issue. We are working as quickly as possible while keeping in mind that we need take time to thoroughly address the situation. As soon as I have more information on the timeline for repairs and next steps, I will be certain to communicate them to the Patterson Mill community.
In the meantime, the custodians who sweep the gym floors at Patterson Mill Middle High School will continue their daily inspections until a lasting solution is found.