The gymnasium floor at Aurora Central was flooded by thousands of gallons of water from a broken sprinkler head two weeks ago, making it unusable for the remainder of the 2014-15 basketball season. The school district said the floor will need to be completely replaced. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)
AURORA | No matter how far it goes in the Class 5A state playoffs, the Aurora Central boys basketball team won’t be playing on its home floor.
But it won’t be because of the Trojans’ play, which has been improving of late.
A couple of weeks ago, a sprinkler head broke in the school’s gymnasium when it was struck by a ball during a class, which allowed thousands of gallons of water to pour onto the basketball court before it could be shut off.
Aurora Public Schools media specialist Patti Moon confirmed the damage to the floor was “extensive” and that it would require the installation of a brand new floor, which the district said is covered under insurance. The process could take several months after the condition of the subfloor is evaluated, which will determine the size and scope of the replacement project.
“It happened during a class when a ball hit the spinkler head; it was a one in a million chance,” Aurora Central athletic director Dan Lliteras said Monday. “It’s a new system and we’re all still learning about it, so it took awhile to turn it off…there was a whole lot of water on the floor. We have to wait for it to dry out.”
While the wrestling regular season is over — and the team still able to practice in its wrestling room ahead of regionals Friday and Saturday — and the basketball season winding to a close, the loss of the gym has still caused some major scheduling headaches.
Coach Ian Calvert’s Aurora Central boys basketball team is currently 13-6 overall and tied for first place in the EMAC, with a pivotal contest at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Rangeview looming. If the Trojans can avenge a 26-point loss to the Raiders, they would have the inside track on winning the league title, which would automatically earn them a home playoff game as one of the top 16 seeds.
The school would have to arrange an alternate site for that game.
“It’s a sad situation for the kids who won’t have a Senior Night or any more home games,” Calvert said. “They deserve to play at home because they worked so hard. We will have to rally and become “road warriors,” accept the challenge and make the best of it.”
Lliteras is hoping to have the problem of needing to make other arrangements in the event of a home playoff game.
“We’ll have to discuss with CHSAA what our limitations and parameters are, but we would probably get to select our home site and choose what would be most favorable for us if it was our home game,” Lliteras said.
The damage also impacted the school’s annual Aurora Legends induction ceremony, which had been scheduled for Feb. 17. The school was to honor the latest inductee in its athletic hall of fame — longtime head and assistant coach Larry Taylor — during halftime of its game.
Now, Taylor will be recognized separately at 7 p.m. Feb 23 in the cafeteria at Aurora Central.
The Aurora Central girls basketball team played a home game Tuesday night against Rangeview in the school’s auxiliary gym, then play Brighton (Feb. 13), Northglenn (Feb. 17) and Hinkley (Feb. 20) in games that Lliteras said are to be decided as to location.
At 5-14 and 3-2 in the EMAC, the Trojans would be on the road if they qualify for the 5A girls state basketball tournament.
Lliteras said he hopes for a time frame of 6-to-8 weeks to get a new floor ordered and/or installed, which would have it completed before the end of the school year.
During the summer, the Aurora Central gym is used for the annual Wheelchair Sports Camp.