Carolina Beach Recreation Center’s gym to get new flooring is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Top: the Carolina Beach Recreation Center gym's current flooring. Bottom: An example of the new kind of flooring Carolina Beach has chosen.
Top: the Carolina Beach Recreation Center gym’s current flooring. Bottom: An example of the new kind of flooring that has been chosen. Photos courtesy of the Carolina Beach Parks and Recreation Department.

The basketball court in the gym at the Carolina Beach Recreation Center will be getting a new floor thanks to funding through the town’s capital improvement plan.

Eric Jelinski, the director of the parks and recreation department, said this project has been on his radar since he took the post over two years ago.

“The floor was one thing that I saw that needed attention,” he said. “The gym floor is currently over 20 years old. We knew it was time to replace it.”

The 8,750-square-foot gym is currently covered in synthetic tiles that were laid directly on concrete, making it hard on the people using it.

“There is zero shock absorbance in that floor,” said Jelinski, who said the current floor was originally made for outdoors, then put indoors. “It’s a safety thing.”

Since getting approved for $75,000 in funding in July (which includes money for the floor, maintenance equipment and other repairs), Jelinski and other members of the parks and recreation department have been looking at different surface options and visiting gyms in the area to see and feel what they would be like.

Due to the unique environmental circumstances of living in a beach community, Carolina Beach has decided to go with a synthetic floor. They have chosen the Maple Select Response High Gloss product made by the company Sport Court, which Jelinski said seemed to be the best choice after talking with parks and recreation professionals around the state.

The center’s gym is not just used for basketball games. Zumba classes are held in there, as well as youth karate tournaments and other events. During their search for the right material, Jelinski and his colleagues kept this in mind.

“One thing we asked was, ‘Can we customize the floor for all the different programs we offer?’” Jelinski said. “It had to meet all these requirements for a true multi-purpose floor.”

After visiting some gyms in Raleigh earlier this week, Jelinski and his team made a final decision late Wednesday.

“We hope to install it before the 2015-1016 youth basketball league starts,” he said.

The youth league, which fields coed teams in four different age groups from 6- to 8-year-olds playing on shorter hoops to teenagers playing on regulation ones, shouldn’t have its schedule affected too much, according to Parks and Programs Superintendent Tim Murphy.

Murphy said teams begin practicing in mid-November, with games typically starting the first weekend after the New Year and ending in mid-March. He said they’re hoping to have the new floor installed by the middle of October at the latest.

Throughout the process, Murphy and Jelinski have asked for the input of the league’s coaches and players as well as other staff. Some of the coaches even went with them on one of their visits to a local gym.

“They’re all very excited by the new floor,” said Murphy. He noted that the current one “served us well in its time,” but that everyone is looking forward to the improved surface area.

Once all the contracts are signed and the details are hashed out (current estimates have them well under budget), installation should take approximately one week to 10 days, including work done on the weekends, according to Jelinski.

Zumba classes, which will be moved to the multipurpose room, and open gym sessions will be affected, but the rest of the center will remain open for most of the installation period. The only time the facility will shut down, said Jelinski, is when they paint the lines with heavy-duty paint. Because of the fumes, the recreation center will have to close for 72 hours.

Repairs to the walls, bleachers and other parts of the gym will also take place during this time. While the basketball goals are another essential part of the gym, there are no current plans to replace them.

“Currently we feel they’re in good working condition,” said Jelinski, “but we want to check them for safety.”

The upgrades to the gym are part of a series of renovations the Carolina Beach Parks and Recreation Department has been making to the center over the last three budget cycles. In Jelinski’s first year of heading the department, the multipurpose and weight rooms were redone, and security was boosted at the facility. Year two saw upgrades such as new equipment and paint jobs to the cardio room and the bathrooms. This year, it was finally the basketball court’s turn.

“It’s really going to improve the performance of the players and the athletes,” said Jelinski. “And it will also be much safer for everyone.”