As a handful of seventh-grade choral students from Elkin Middle School climbed up on the stage of the Dixon Auditorium, they looked more like kids in a candy store with smiles across their faces. One of the students even lay down on the floor and rolled like a cat enjoying new carpet, and she wasn’t the first student to do that in the last week.
The previous stage at the auditorium, used by Elkin High School and Elkin Middle School as well as a number of community groups such as local dance studios and theater groups, was an old wood pine floor, explained John Altemueller, facilities director for Elkin City Schools, as he walked across the new brand new stage floor Friday afternoon.
He said since he came on board with the city schools he’s been working to replace the old floor for safety reasons. Unsure of how old the floor was, Altemueller said it was a tongue and groove floor. “The floor was sanded down so much over the years, the top part of the tongue had started to break off and it had begun to be a safety hazard.”
With groups using it for dancing and other activities, he was afraid someone was going to get a splinter.
The cost to replace the old floor with another wood floor was just less than $30,000, Altemueller reported.
In researching other stage options, he came across the floor which was selected. “This product was a quite a bit cheaper and one we could basically install ourselves,” he said. The floor, labor costs and all totaled about $16,000.
The school facilities staff, along with Wyatt & Wyatt Construction, was able to install the new flooring in two days, just before the snow hit.
GRT Genesis, a company out of Canada, provided the flooring which came in large rectangle pieces which screw into place — this way if one place on the stage gets damaged for some reason, only that one piece has to be replaced.
Altemueller tested the flooring prior to purchasing it. He said after sitting in water for a week, it showed no signs of any damage.
One selling point Altemueller said the company is quick to point out is this is the same flooring used on the stage at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas. “If it’s good enough for Vegas, I guess it’s good enough for Elkin,” he said.
Only two groups of students had stepped foot on the new floor as of Friday afternoon, both part of Tonya Smith’s many choral groups.
Smith said earlier in the week she let her chamber choir students see the floor because she said they’d been begging her to get a glimpse of it. She said one of the high-school boys in the class even lay down on it, like the middle school choral students did Friday afternoon.
“They are so excited. They knew it was coming,” she said. “It is so nice.”
Smith said the flooring was like that used at other big-name professional theaters. And for her, one of the biggest pluses is the fact it is so sustainable. She also pointed out how smooth it was, which she said will be especially nice for the dancers.
“It’s very exciting,” she said.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.