Heroic Gym Restoration

Photos courtesy of Luis Perez | Hero Flooring LLC

Anderson High School in Cincinnati, Ohio holds a special place in the heart of Luis Perez, owner of Hero Flooring LLC. As a former student and athlete at the school, he decided to return and give back to the institution that had given him so many cherished memories. The task at hand? A restoration project like no other.

“Anderson is my alma mater, and I was on the team that won a state championship in football in 2007-2008,” recalls Perez. “I have so many good memories of Anderson. I jumped at the chance to be able to come back and do something for them.”

The gymnasium floor at Anderson High School had seen better days – much better days. Installed back in the 1960s, it had weathered decades of neglect and minimal maintenance. It was a floor that told a story of countless sporting events, dances, and school gatherings.
But as time passed, its condition had deteriorated to a point where it demanded attention.

“The condition of their gym floor was terrible even when I was there. The maintenance was
lacking, and I think they probably sanded and finished it every 15 years or so.”

Every inch of the surface bore witness to this problem, with noticeable heel marks, dents, and loose boards turning events like homecoming into potential disasters.

“Boards were coming loose, and it was just a very bad scene all around. I learned that they were getting quotes from different companies and kept being told that the floor needed to be ripped out and replaced. When I went and looked at it, I really believed that it had
one more sanding left in it. As such, I asked for the opportunity.”

Perez’s familiarity with the school’s athletic director, who once had been his football coach, played a pivotal role. Trust in his character, punctuality, and dedication to promises made a significant difference. He requested a chance to prove the floor still had some life left in it.

With permission granted, he started by sanding a small section near the bleachers. To his relief, there were no nailheads in sight, reinforcing his belief in the floor’s potential. Despite the extensive work required, Perez offered a generous deal.

“I gave them a steal of a price, as it was my alma mater, and it was a passion project. It really wasn’t about the money, but rather my wanting to do stuff that I love. Time passed, and they reached out and asked me if I was available to begin work. In early July, we signed a contract, and I started in August.”

Perez took his time, proceeding methodically. He began with a 24-grit Norton Red Head on a
drum sander to aggressively level the floor. Subsequent passes with 50, 80, and 120 grits smoothed out the scratches. Two coats of sealer followed, setting the stage for the floor’s transformation.

One of the perks of this project was creative freedom. Perez used oil-based poly on the outer areas and water-based poly on the court’s inner plane, creating a beautiful contrast. The key lanes received an ice-grey stain, tying into the school’s rebranding as the Raptors, a change from being the Anderson Redskins.

“Many were upset about the name change, so I really felt some pressure to make something that people would like in relation to their new name. I think the floor came out really well, and it’s something that Anderson can take pride in.”

The final result exceeded expectations. The gym floor was not just renewed; it was reborn. Anderson High School now has a source of pride within its walls. The community, deeply passionate about their school, rallied behind the project.

“The alumni love their school so much, and to be the one in charge of this new brand and this new direction was so humbling. They put their faith in me, and I had to deliver. To see them embrace the final result means a lot.”

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