By MARTY JAMES
There is a new look and feel to the Napa Valley College gym.
A new sound system has been installed.
There is also a brand new floor – featuring the Storm's athletic logo with the school's colors, forest green and gold, in the center circle area.
The improvement project, to sand, refinish, refurbish and also re-design the gym floor, was completed in about three weeks by H.Y. Floor and Gameline Painting, Inc. of San Carlos. The baseline and end-line areas of the court has lettering for NVC's name and mascot, with the school colors. It's a maple floor.
"They just did a wonderful job. It took approximately three weeks-plus from start to finish. And then we let it cure as long as we could. The process was about five, six weeks in total," said Jerry Dunlap, NVC's Associate Dean of Physical Education and Athletics.
The project began in the late spring, prior to finals week, thus forcing some of the intercollegiate teams to practice outdoors for a few weeks.
"It was a very smooth process, because the company was so wonderful to work with," said Dunlap.
"What we really wanted to do is kind of develop more of an intercollegiate competition court, where we had a main basketball court with the volleyball court in it."
The gym has had two different playing surfaces since the 1970s. The first was a synthetic, rubber-type flooring. It was replaced years ago by a maple floor.
"We're figuring there has been close to 28 layers of sealer that has been put on top of that through the years," said Dunlap. "So when they stripped it up completely, you really saw how bright and enlightened that maple wood actually is. It really transformed the whole floor, just the look of it, just by stripping all the old material off, and then obviously, with the new painting techniques that they're able to use, with putting all the different emblems in."
Dunlap said he received multiple bids from companies to do the flooring. The NVC volleyball team, men's and women's basketball teams, and some P.E. classes use the gym, as well as the Optimist Youth Basketball League.
NVC volleyball and basketball teams play in the Bay Valley Conference. Volleyball is a fall sport and basketball plays in the winter.
"It's actually the old maple floor, but we just took it all the way to the wood, and then redesigned what we wanted. We just thought it made a much cleaner look, as we took off all the existing lines on the court. We put in our new logo that we had worked with (Associated Students of NVC) to develop and put color schemes into that flooring," said Dunlap.
Replacing the gym floor is something the NVC athletic department has been wanting to do for quite a while, said Dunlap. Over the years, lines have been changed, deleted or added, depending on the sport.
"We had a multitude of lines out on the basketball court. Not only that, we had lines for all types of badminton courts, inside volleyball courts, and basketball courts going everywhere," said Dunlap.
The reaction and feedback has been very positive – not only from NVC teams, but also from opponents who have played on the new floor, said Dunlap.
"Hearing from our athletes that are on it, they really enjoy playing on that type of surface, where it's got enough give, but yet it's a sturdy floor," said Dunlap.
NVC's Athletic Department is also working with Under Armour, to develop designs for some of its uniforms and other gear and apparel, in order to match the new floor and the logo.
"We're trying to incorporate that throughout our whole athletic department – one consistent looking uniform and imaging. And we tie that in with the new gym floor with the coloring. Hopefully within the next few years, it kind of melds together and it's kind of one fluid color scheme, imaging scheme, a branding scheme for us," said Dunlap.
Mongoose Graphics, based in Colorado, worked with NVC in designing the Storm logo. Associated Students of NVC has also worked with Storm Athletics on the logo.
The updated look to the gym has also drawn a lot of excitement from potential recruits on their visit to NVC.
"We've had a lot of positive reaction from recruits coming in," said Dunlap. "Our gymnasium has now become a focal point of our athletic program. We're very happy with what's going on."
* Marty James is a freelance writer who makes his home in Napa. He retired on June 4, after spending 40 years as a sports writer, sports editor and executive sports editor for the Napa Valley Register, a daily newspaper in Napa County. He is a 1979 graduate of Sacramento State and a member of the California Golf Writers & Broadcasters Association, Associated Press Sports Editors, and California Prep Sports Media Association. He was inducted into the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame in 2016 and the Vintage High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019.