What started out as a potential disaster turned into quite a positive endeavor for Kentucky Wesleyan athletics.
Three weeks ago, a fire sprinkler busted at Woodward Health and Recreation Center when some area youth were playing soccer, causing water to flood the volleyball and basketball practice floor for nearly 30 minutes.
The damage totaled somewhere between $90,000 and $100,000 and forced the KWC volleyball team and men’s and women’s basketball teams to practice and play games at places such as Owensboro Christian Church, the Sportscenter and Apollo High School.
Fortunately for KWC, the damage was all covered in an insurance claim. Now, almost exactly three weeks after the accident, a brand new court will be unveiled Tuesday. It was all sort of a blessing in disguise, KWC athletic director David Williams said.
“Looking back now, we get a brand new floor out of it,” Williams said. “If you look at it, we were able to correct a couple things that we didn’t necessarily like about the floor before. Some of the paintings, drawings — the logos — weren’t correct. We also made some changes with the volleyball floor.”
Martin Flooring out of Louisville was hired to construct the new floor, and Williams said they were finished right in the time frame that they planned for the project.
Some of the changes with the new floor include new logos and painting as well as new lines for volleyball and basketball.
Before, if volleyball games were played sideways, there wasn’t the regulation amount of space between courts, Williams said.
With the new floor they were able to spread them out and to be able to play two regulation games going sideways.
“The goal to the new painting of the floor is if you walked in the facility as a basketball player, you’d see a basketball court. If you walked in as a volleyball student-athlete, you’d see a volleyball court,” Williams said. “It’s a really unique design of the floor.”
Perhaps one reason why the volleyball part of the floor is improved is that Hannah Hudnall, a KWC sophomore volleyball player from Russellville, Ky. (Logan County HS), came up with the new design.
Williams had some ideas in his head of what he wanted the floor to look like and sought help from a Graphic Design I class, an intoductory level graphic design class tought by professor Heather McNeiley. Each student in the class came up with a design for Williams to choose.
He ultimately chose Hudnall’s. After a few tweaks, they developed the final version of the court.
“I wanted it to be different from every other volleyball court I’ve seen, and I believe it is,” Hudnall said. “On most courts, there’s a basketball court incorporated, but the border on ours is thick. They both stand out.”
To add to it, this is the first graphic design class that Hudnall has taken. Even she was shocked, but certainly thankful, that Williams consulted her beginner-level course over a more experience course.
Now for the next two years, she’ll be able to practice on something she helped create.
“It’s pretty crazy. I still can’t believe that’s my design on the court,” she said. “It’s great how it started out on the computer and they turned it into a huge project.”
Williams said he and KWC were extremely thankful to all the venues that opened their doors and let KWC athletes use their facilities. Even though no one asked KWC for money for their use, Williams said they plan to repay anyone who helped them out.
As far as the accident that caused it all, Williams said it was just that — an accident. A ball simply went to the rafters and hit a sprinkler, causing it to explode. Williams said KWC’s facilities are always open for the community to use since the school embraces its role in the community, and even though this group wasn’t necessarily invited to use the gym, no one had told them no either.
However, he did say it prompted a few more changes aside from just the floor. First, cages will be installed to protect the sprinklers — something Williams said should have been there in the first place. Secondly, he said the school will do a better job of knowing who’s using their facilities in order to prevent a similar instance.
But overall, he said this turned out to be a good thing for KWC.
“When you’re able to use the integration of a need on campus with your students and give them a true learning experience to what they’re doing,” Williams said, “I think that’s a really neat thing to be able to do for them.”