A gift from the Edgar County Community Foundation helped the REC complete redoing the building’s gymnasium by stripping, sanding, applying new stripes and a new finish to the hardwood floor. (Gary Henry/The Prairie Press)

New floor for REC

Improvements to the REC keep coming.

The most recent project was redoing the heavily used gymnasium in the building. 

“Our floor was looking really shabby,” said Erin Hutchison, REC executive director. “The old oil-base sealer was rough.”

It is believed the hardwood maple floor was installed during the 1980s when the building still operated as a YMCA, but it is not known when the last serious maintenance was done to the floor.

The most recent project funded by a $50,000 grant from the Edgar County Community Foundation (ECCF) stripped all of the old sealers coats, sanded the floor to fresh wood, removed the old Y logo as legally required, painted new stripes and included a REC logo in the paint scheme. Allred’s Floor Service of Effingham did the work for a bit over $18,000. 

Hutchison said redoing the gym floor concludes planned improvements to that part of the building. A previous donation by North American Lighting took care of installing new lighting and painting the gym walls. Another project was updating the heating and air conditioning for the space and installing a new goal keeping system.

The floor project took the gym out of service for a month to give the Allred employees time to strip, sand, apply new sealer and allow the finish to properly cure. It is now available for open gym use, with men, youth and women league basketball play to start in October. 

As a multipurpose space, the gym is also used for volleyball and dodge ball games.

Hutchison acknowledged keeping the floor well maintained will require strict enforcement of rules such as always changing into a pair of clean shoes to walk on the surface and the prohibition of food and beverages in the gym space.

“People have to learn how to treat this right,” said Hutchison. “We aren’t going to have it if they don’t. Once they read and sign the rules, it is ready to rock and roll.”

Scott Ingrum of the ECCF board described supporting the efforts of the REC as a no brainer

for the board. 

“They’ve got so many people using it. It seemed natural for the foundation to get involved,” said Ingrum.

Another ECCF board member Christian Colvin agreed with Ingrum. Colvin said the REC is a great facility and a positive asset for the community that deserves support to keep it operational.

“It would be sad to see it gone,” said Ingrum. “So many places can’t do the upkeep needed and have to close.”

Hutchison is pleased with the results in the gym and said more work is coming in the near future. Money left from the ECCF gift will go to modernizing the dated main entryway to the building where members check in to use the facility.

She is hoping the money will stretch far enough to include improvements to the locker rooms with working showers and bringing the toilets up to code.

“We’ve got a great facility,” she said. “People come here to work out, and we would like for the membership to have a place to shower afterward.”

Also coming in the near future, although funding is still to be worked out, is improving the space for the popular spin cycling class.

“Today (July 3) is the first anniversary of the spin classes,” said Hutchison. “The committee is ready to change the lighting and other features and bring a whole new experience to the class.”

She anticipates the planned changes will attract additional people into the spin class offering.

Hutchison also wants to update the flooring in the old dance studio where yoga and other fitness classes meet, and she is confident the money will be found to do that project.

“Everything we’ve done so far – it’s all thanks to our community’s generosity,” said Hutchison.


The Prairie Press

101 Central Avenue Paris, IL 61944