When basketball season goes into full swing after Christmas, Bethel College will have the newest gym floor in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.
That’s thanks to Mother Nature and a good insurance policy.
More than four inches of rain fell in under three hours on the night of July 29. The Kidron-Martin Canal on the north side of campus, meant to drain runoff water from the campus and nearby residential areas into Sand Creek, ran over the adjacent access road and flowed into the Memorial Hall basement and Thresher Gym.
A team of campus and community volunteers worked late into the night July 29 and 30 to clear the water from the gym floor, but there were still one to two inches trapped underneath.
College employees and professionals worked to dry out and rehabilitate the floor, which the volleyball team used for its practices and home games this fall, but in the end, the decision was that the floor had to be replaced.
“I am excited to announce that our insurance company has agreed to cover the cost of a new floor for Thresher Gym,” Allen Wedel, vice president for business affairs, announced Nov. 11. “We have been negotiating this over the last couple of months.”
The project will begin the week of Nov. 25, with the contractor starting removal of the old floor, and is set to be completed by Christmas.
Kent Allshouse, Bethel athletic director, has been negotiating other sites where the men’s and women’s basketball teams can practice and play. Although the Mem Hall gym can be, and currently is, used for some practices, it doesn’t have enough seating to accommodate the games.
The men’s varsity team has five home games and the women’s varsity four scheduled between now and Dec. 18, the start of Christmas break for basketball players. Allshouse has found alternate venues for those games.
“The floor that is being installed is a better floor than we currently have,” Wedel said. “We look forward to the completion of this project. We will have the newest floor in the KCAC.”