PORT ANGELES — Pirate Pete, Peninsula College’s swashbuckling mascot, has a new method of transportation, and the college’s men’s and women’s basketball teams and area youth squads will be the beneficiaries for decades to come.
A year-long project to replace the original, 53-year-old basketball court at the college wrapped in late June, when installation of the new maple hardwood floor — featuring center court mainstay Pirate Pete atop the silhouette of a Pirate ship — was completed.
The $193,000 project replaced a court that had reached the end of its useful life. It was entirely funded by community donors, led by First Federal.
“The community really stepped up and saved us,” said Rick Ross, Peninsula’s associate dean for athletics and student life.
“We had broken floor boards and were facing the possibility of having to shut that court down in the future. That would have been catastrophic for our basketball program, not to mention all the youth camps and other activities that happen there.
“Thanks to Tim Tucker’s [of the Peninsula College Foundation] leadership and some very generous Pirate supporters, the funding for this project came together in a very short time. We should be good to go for another 50 years.”
Peninsula’s new court continues the trend of bold floor designs that has come to college courts across the country, including the Seattle skyline on the University of Washington’s home court, the “Deep in the Woods” forest motif of the University of Oregon’s Matthew Knight Arena, or the variety of state landmarks displayed on the court at Washington State University, such as the Space Needle and the Bryan Hall clock tower on campus.
“We set about designing the logo, my staff Katrina Campbell and Jeremiah Johnson,” Ross said.
“We didn’t want to go as far as the University of Oregon as much as I think that’s an interesting design. So we came up with the pirate ship plan.”
The same company that installed UW and WSU’s floors, Northern Hardwood of Deer Park, laid down the new Peninsula court.
The college saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in project costs thanks to some skillful design work.
“There is sub-flooring under it and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) that goes under it, so to replace it was a really expensive proposition,” Ross said.
“Our facilities staff looked at it and came up with a great design to lay the new court on the top of the old floor. “They patched the areas where the bounce wasn’t right, put down a layer of plastic-like material that prevents moisture from going between the two floors, added a plywood base, about 5 inches of rubber and then the maple floor. Because we didn’t have to remove and replace the sub-flooring and the HVAC, that saved us $400,000.
“The floor has some spring to it, so it’s good for our players’ backs and knees.”
Pirates men’s basketball coach Donald Rollman is thrilled with the final product.
Transformation COMPLETE! Can't wait to get to the GRIND with our guys! Lucky to be a part of an incredible community that helped make this happen from start to finish in just months. Worth the watch! LET'S GO! #BuiltForIt #PCProud pic.twitter.com/04MANQUTkP— Donald Rollman (@Coach_Rollman) July 7, 2020
“It’s huge just in terms of the community and how great their support is to get this project funded and completed in under a year,” Rollman said. “It’s just unheard of. It shows that the community continues to show support and we are able to stay one step ahead in what we do and what we provide the players in our program. As quality as the programs have been here for such a long time, they deserve to play on a great surface like the soccer field or new basketball floor. It’s special to be a part of, for sure.”
Women’s head coach Alison Crumb, herself a former Pirate, said she was “overwhelmed, honestly, by the community support,” Peninsula College continues to receive.
“Not just for facility upgrades, but for scholarships and equipment upgrades,” Crumb said. “However, this floor project is on another spectrum, and I’m so proud of this community for investing in our student-athletes. I know they always have and always will, which is why I continually talk with parents in the recruiting process about our community and their investment in their future. It is one of the main talking points with potential recruits is that they will be valued here in Port Angeles, and supported. Many of these student-athletes are moving from all over the country/world, and for this community to accept and invest in them means more than people will ever know.”
Rollman said Ross took home a few souvenirs of the old floor.
“There’s been a lot of band aids on the floor over the years, and they had to get rid of some of the dead spots, before laying down the new court,” Rollman said. “Rick, per usual, once they cut those dead spots out he saved those pieces of the floor.”
Ross had an ulterior motive in mind.
“When I heard they had cut those pieces out, I jumped in the dumpster next to the gym and recovered them,” Ross said. “We plan to repurpose those pieces into an honorary plaque or souvenirs for our boosters.”
In addition to First Federal, who’s major donation earned an on-court logo, corporate donors included 7 Cedars Casino, Herman Brothers Logging & Construction, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Bedford’s Sodas, Wilder Auto and Peninsula Bottling Company, as well as significant contributions from individual donors.
Crumb received plenty of feedback from former players about the new court.
“When I posted on social media about our new floor, the majority of people who commented and were proud were former athletes who live all over the world now,” Crumb said. “They are so proud of this college and our athletic department and a huge reason for this is the larger Olympic Peninsula community. I want to personally thank everyone who supported this project and who will continue to support the dreams and aspirations of our young student-athletes.”
Ross said a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the project will be held sometime soon.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or [email protected].