RESURFACED: Panaewa covered play court gets new flooring

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The Panaewa play court is not even 4 years old, but it’s already having its floor replaced after some users complained of cuts and scrapes from a surface described as a “cheese grater.”

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The Panaewa play court is not even 4 years old, but it’s already having its floor replaced after some users complained of cuts and scrapes from a surface described as a “cheese grater.”

The interlocking plastic tiles installed in mid-2012 when the $3 million covered play court was completed have been removed and a contractor is pouring a polyurethane product to create the new surface.

Deputy Parks Director James Komata said the new floor will cost $491,070. He said that’s more than the previous surface, but should address complaints from users.

The 26,000-square-foot facility, closed since January, could reopen by Monday, Komata said.

He said complaints of cuts and scrapes came primarily from volleyball players who dived onto the surface, only to find its mesh-like structure less forgiving than expected.

“It is designed for volleyball,” Komata said. “It’s just the reality of how play happens there it just wasn’t working out well.”

He said that design was chosen because it could hold up to the Hilo weather. The play court, while covered, is open to the air.

“Unfortunately, we have a hybrid building,” Komata said. “The interior space is considered an outdoor space.”

He said he was confident, though, that the new surface will be up to the task.

As for the plastic tiles, Komata said they were donated to Panewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens, where they are being used to elevate plants off the ground in the nursery.

“We’re not throwing it away,” he said. “We are trying to use it as best we can in other locations.”

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The contractor is Co-Ha Builders.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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