Starting Dec. 7, the public will have the opportunity to buy pieces of the old gymnasium floor that carried the Carlisle High School Thundering Herd to four state basketball championships.
Salvaged boards from the May demolition of the original floor will be put on sale during the first game of the Carlisle Classic Basketball Tournament scheduled for 6 p.m. that Friday.
The profit from the sale of the floorboards will be donated to the Bison Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports the development of scholastic, cultural, social and athletic programs for Carlisle area students. The bison is the school mascot.
“It’s a way to preserve some of the history of a gym floor that is important to a lot of people,” said Michael Black, high school principal and president of the foundation’s board of directors. “It’s a way to share that history with others while using the contribution to go towards a good cause.”
The high school has a Center for Careers and Technology that offers a program in the construction trades. Students enrolled in the program are incorporating the floorboards into decorative wooden displays designed to be mounted on the wall of a home office, den or other living space, Black said.
Floorboards used in the displays are mostly from sections of the original gymnasium floor that were painted green which, along with white, are the school colors. There will be a variety of display sizes available. Prices have yet to be determined. Bison Foundation representatives will man a table in the gym lobby during the Dec. 7 basketball game.
Carlisle Area School District recently completed a $3.67 million gym renovation that included the removal of original floor down to its concrete base. The floor dated from 1955 and had been sanded and re-coated eight to 10 times. Each time, a thin layer of the floorboards had been removed.
Because the topmost layer was too thin or fragile for salvage, work crews in May used circular saws to cut four inches into the subflooring to give the floorboards support. The salvaged sections have historic or sentimental value to the Carlisle High School community and alumni.
Salvaged sections include the block letters that spell out “Carlisle” along each baseline, the references to the Coach David Lebo Court and the center court school logo and bison that make up the jump circle. Lebo was the coach of the Thundering Herd boys’ basketball team that won four consecutive state titles from 1985 to 1988.
The plan is to reassemble the jump circle and put it on display in the renovated gym. The jump circle is significant because it was used not only to start every home game, but frequently to put jump balls into play, Athletic Director George Null said in May. “The center court is the mainstay. It was the remnant that was there when the state championships were won. It’s our history. It’s a proud tradition of Carlisle and the basketball program.”
The $3.67 million renovation project also saw the removal of the old bleachers, basketball nets, the drop ceiling and the HVAC equipment. The HVAC units were replaced with hardware that was installed outside on the gym roof. The drop ceiling was not replaced.
The bleachers and nets also were replaced, and the locker rooms were rebuilt.