Pittsburg State University began the process of renovating John Lance Arena Friday.

Pittsburg State University began the process of renovating John Lance Arena Friday.

Crews showed up at 7 a.m. and began filling in the section of the floor that was the base for the old court, said Matt Evans, co-owner of Evans Concrete Construction, which completed the work. Evans’ crews had the newly-poured 30 cubic yards of concrete — about 5,600 square feet — smoothed over and ready to begin curing by late Friday afternoon.

The concrete was mixed in trucks outside the gymnasium and carted it in with a small cart, where they poured it in 10-foot sections. They used lengths of rebar to measure the height to make sure the floor was level.

Additional work won’t be undertaken until after commencement in May, athletic director Jim Johnson said.

“They started this week because of spring break and there’s nothing going on in there,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the university will make an official announcement within the next few weeks, and that Friday’s work was the first step in the renovation of the Weede Physical Education Building. Johnson did not say how much the project will cost, but that it will be funded entirely through private donations.

The floor will take about six to eight weeks to completely cure.

“They will cover it with a tarp until after commencement and then will start taking out the old seating,” Johnson said.

Crews with then lay the new floor, which will cover virtually the entire surface. “The gym will have a 100 percent wood floor,” Johnson said. “It basically will be wall-to-wall wood.”

“Johnson said there could be as many as seven volleyball courts for events such as volleyball camps, and as many as four courts for practice purposes. The all-new seating will match the red plastic chairs that are in the upstairs gallery, but the wood seats at the east end will remain and be retrofitted.

The project is set to be completed by August 1.

“We want to be ready for volleyball practice, and they don't foresee any problems with that.” Johnson said. “It's going to be really nice by the time it's done.”