The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Washington Elementary School gym gets major restoration


January 10, 2019

P.J. Glisson/Daily Globe

UNDER THE direction of Linda Johanson, K-6 teacher of physical education and health at Washington Elementary School in Bessemer, fifth graders run as fast as they can Tuesday across a gym floor that recently was fully refurbished for the first time in the school's 100-year history.


Bessemer - The Washington Elementary School in Bessemer received a significant Christmas gift in the form of a full restoration of its gymnasium.

Superintendent Dave Wineburner said the work was completed in the past month with the help of a list of contributing companies and individuals.

"It was an old floor," he said of the gym and added regarding the school's century-old age, "It had never been sanded in 100 years."

Wineburner said members of the district's board of education and other officials began discussing the project in August and invited various venders to check out the space.

"We did it for safety reasons. The floor had started to buckle," he said.

Moreover, he added, "having pride in our facilities" was another incentive. He said board members are focused on taking care of their schools "and this is a step in that direction."

According to the superintendent, the walls were the first part of the project to be addressed. He said their 1960s-era green paint was covered with fresh ivory paint in mid-December with donated paint and labor.

After the elementary school's Christmas concert was held on Dec. 21, another business donated four days to sand the gym floor and to remove buckling.

Finally, the sports lines were painted and polyurethane was applied for gloss and protection.

Wineburner said the floor space is roughly 4,400 square feet, and school kids already are enjoying the results. On Tuesday morning, Linda Johanson, K-6 teacher of physical education and health, was directing fifth graders in an exercise that had the kids running from one end of the gym to the other, repeatedly.

Other physical education classes also use the gym on a regular basis. In addition, said Wineburner, "The elementary basketball program is run in there." That includes third through sixth graders.

The superintendent added that junior high kids from the district's A.D. Johnston High School in Bessemer also use the elementary gym for practice in basketball and volleyball.

Finally, he said the elementary school regularly holds choir and band concerts in the gym.

Wineburner said the school's next remodeling project will be the gym stage area, which also needs refurbishing of its walls and floor.

He said elementary kids may partake in that process by applying a personal touch such as hand prints or initials "just as a recognition that they're part of the process."

After all, he noted, "They're the reason why we do what we do."


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