The weight room on the first floor of the Recreation Center (REC) is currently closed and under construction until late January.

University staff plan to replace worn rubber floor tiles and repair underlying concrete.

“The flooring has had some bubbling issues, meaning the adhesive has become unattached on some of the tiles creating a tripping hazard,” said Cala Sielaff, assistant director for Fitness and Aquatics.

Sielaff cited ground moisture as the cause for cracked tiles and failed glue.

“Being so close to the river, moisture is coming up through the flooring and we needed to mitigate that,” Sielaff said. “That’s in essence the problem, the cracking and the adhesive not adhering to the cement.”

Sielaff and colleagues expressed concern over deterioration of the gym floor and applied for funding through the university over a year ago.

“We got approval this past fall and so we have started the process of ripping up the flooring, sealing cracks and putting on a moisture sealant,” Sielaff said.

Workers will seal the underlying concrete base preventing moisture from subterranean wells and the nearby Boise River from entering the building.

The cracked and worn rubber tiles are to be replaced with rubber matting which Recreation Center staff think will create a more comfortable floor for gym enthusiasts.

“It’s almost an inch thick and we are installing that in rolls. It’s going to help with noise in the weight room and the rubber is thicker and will protect the cement underneath,” Sielaff said.

Though the project was planned to be completed over the winter break, Sielaff said work may have to be extended.

“We were hoping to be done before the start of school but now we are preparing for a reopening on the 27th,” Sielaff said. “That’s just what we are preparing for, we are hoping it is a lot sooner.”

Over time, moisture escaping through concrete flooring could cause expensive and time consuming damage to the building, costs Sielaff and colleagues are hoping to prevent.

“You don’t want the inside of the building to be moist because then it could lead to mold or mildew issues,” said Michael Wheeler, construction manager for Facilities Operation and Maintenance at Boise State.

Wheeler said concrete sealant is applied to buildings in wet climates or near bodies of water as a preventative measure.

Though the Boise River could be the source of unwanted ground moisture, Wheeler said a number of factors could be blamed.

“The area has springs everywhere,” Wheeler said.

Despite proximity to the Boise River, not all campus buildings require concrete sealant.

“Sometimes that stuff doesn’t show up until the building has been there for a while so it’s usually not an expense incurred upfront unless we know there is going to be a problem,” Wheeler said.

Sophomore psychology major Blake Sherburn hopes the construction is finished quickly, allowing himself and others access to necessary equipment.

Sherburn frequented the gym over winter break and expressed frustration about being unable to complete his workout.

“Every time I go in there, if it is busy at all, we can’t do anything. Everyone just has to wait and it’s terrible. It just kind of makes me want to buy a gym membership, even though it costs money,” Sherburn said.

Ryan Thorne
Ryan Thorne was born and raised in the beautiful city of Twin Falls, Idaho. He now lives in Boise where he enjoys being a student at Boise State University. As the Investigative News editor, Thorne is always hot on the trail of the next big story. In his free time, he can be found playing the guitar, reading, or exploring scenic outdoor Idaho. Follow him on Twitter @ryanthorne86 or friend him on Facebook.