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August 29. 2014 6:07PM

Salem considers legal action over damaged school gym floor at Lancaster Elementary

SALEM — In the coming weeks, school officials will be removing the gymnasium floor at Lancaster Elementary School while the school board meets with its lawyer to consider possible legal action against contractors responsible for installing the floor.

The troubles began during late fall and early winter of last school year, when the synthetic floor began to separate from the concrete base, said Superintendent Michael Delahanty.

For nearly a year, Delahanty said he has been trying to get the subcontractors who installed the floor to repair it or at least determine what caused of the damage.

After months of not getting adequate answers from either the company that installed the floor, Business Interiors of Massachusetts, or the company that manufactures the adhesive, the superintendent said it was time for the district to take action on its own.

Delahanty has recommended that the district use $45,000 of the district’s unreserved fund balance to remove and replace the synthetic floor with a wood gym floor consistent with the new gym floors at the recently renovated Fisk and Soule elementary schools.

He also said the school board should meet with legal counsel to determine if there is action that can be taken to recoup some money for the added work.

“The question is, who is going to be responsible for replacing the gym floor?” said Delahanty.

The superintendent said he would take responsibility for trying to resolve the problem with the subcontractor that installed the floor rather than initially contacting the construction manager and owner’s project manager for the Lancaster School project.

Delahanty said he had also hoped the issue could have been solved without any legal action being taken.

“I have been hopeful to this point that we would avoid that, which may have been naivete on my part,” said Delahanty. “I do remain hopeful that the individuals involved will step up and make this right … I was hopeful they were people of goodwill who were willing to correct the problem, and I was mistaken.”

Until the Lancaster gym floor is removed, all physical education activities at the school are taking place outside with no games or activities allowed on the gym floor.

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