This note, recently found under the basketball floor at F.D. Wilkinson Gymnasium during renovation, tells just how hard replacing a floor can be. (Photo submitted) 

Editor's note: This story was updated at 11 a.m. on Nov. 25 with information from Scott Kennedy.

When a flood hit Frankfort in early 1989, the basketball floor at F.D. Wilkinson Gymnasium was quickly taken up.

When spring came and it was time to put the floor back down, a group of four students did the work, and a hidden message told how hard the work was.

“It was pretty easy taking it up,” the note reads. “But it’s a pain in the a-- to put back together!”

Those four students — Greg Miklavcic, Scott Kennedy, David Snyder and Ben Wiley — all signed the note, dated April 1989, and left it under the basketball floor. It was found this month during renovation work at the gym.

“My dad (Frank Miklavcic), as long as he had a measuring tape and able bodies, thought he could do anything, and he said we’d put it back,” Greg Miklavcic said.

“I’ve always told people about this,” he continued. “We had to slide each piece of the floor over the blue railing, piece by piece, and then piece it together. It’s literally the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

Frank Miklavcic was a teacher and track and cross country coach at FHS at the time.

“Mike Oder (FHS principal) was involved somehow,” he said. “Taking it up was an emergency, so there was plenty of help. Putting it back down, I think we got together after some track practices and just kept at it.

“I think when we got the floor down we figured out it wasn’t lined up exactly right with the basketball goals, and we had to use a jack against the wall to push the whole floor over a little.”

Frank Miklavcic agrees with his son that the work was difficult.

“It was like trying to fit a jigsaw puzzle together,” he said. “All the 4x8 sections were numbered and we had to find the first one just to get started.”

Kennedy was the student who wrote the note.

"I think I wrote it so I could take a break," he said. "Frank was cracking the whip."

Kennedy doesn't remember exactly how long it took to put the floor down, but there was something of a deadline.

"We were told if we didn't get it down in time we'd miss the window to get the floor sanded and a polyurethane coat put on it," he said. "If we wanted to have a nice basketball court for next season, we had to get it down.

"I don't think people realize how heavy those floors are," Kennedy added. "You needed four people to move one board. It was brutal."

The floor was a source of conversation the next season.

"There was a dead spot in the floor," Kennedy said, "and when we hit that spot we'd tell each other 'you put that board down.'

"When we'd have a fast break on offense we'd try to avoid that area of the floor, and on defense we'd try to get the other team to that area because we knew there was a dead spot somewhere."

The crew working on the current renovation found the note and gave it to Bobby Driskell, the chief operations officer for Frankfort Independent Schools.

Driskell then gave it to Greg Miklavcic.

“We were all best friends,” Greg Miklavcic said about the foursome who replaced the floor. “We’ve had a good laugh over this.”

Greg Miklavcic and his wife, Jennifer, bought his parents’ house about 20 years ago. The kitchen flooring contained some wood taken from the basketball floor at the old gym inside Frankfort High, where the library is now located.

When the kitchen floor was replaced during a recent renovation at the Miklavcics’ home, Jennifer had some of the gym floor pieces made into a patio table for Greg.

“That wood is probably 75 years old,” Greg Mikavcic said.

Now there’s another bit of FHS history at his home.

“I still have the note,” he said. “It’s on my mantel. I think I’ll get it framed.”

Recommended for you

Load comments

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.