When it was time to replace the athletic court at the Icardo Center, officials at California State University, Bakersfield knew who they could trust and where to turn – Robbins Flooring and Pacific Floor Company. After all, Pacific, an authorized Robbins dealer, had performed maintenance work at CSUB for some time.
“They’ve really been our go-to person for any type of repairs that we’ve done on our floors for a number of years and they’ve always done a great job,” said CSUB Senior Associate Director of Athletics Karen Langston. “We’ve always really relied on them to keep the courts that we had in as good of shape as they could possibly be.”
The choice was clear not only because of their previous work, but also because Robbins is an approved vendor of Sourcewell, the national cooperative purchasing program formerly known as NJPA. Every four years Robbins must submit a bid to be considered and selected as an approved vendor. Sourcewell members, like Robbins, are thoroughly vetted so it’s easier for schools and other organizations to choose a trusted vendor when it comes to making a major purchase like a new gym floor.
Sourcewell ensures public bidding requirements are satisfied and the contract is awarded to the vendor of choice, not simply the lowest bidder, as prices are preset. Because the Robbins/Pacific track record was outstanding, CSUB decisively chose Robbins over Connor Sports, Robbins’ competitor and another Sourcewell vendor.
“Using Sourcewell, they didn’t have to go search out Connor,” said Sales Manager and Estimator at Pacific Floor Company Mark Herthel. “We had a relationship with the university already and I think they certainly wanted to work with not only Robbins, but certainly Pacific Floor Company.”
Plus, the CSUB Roadrunners had a bit of a unique situation, and they knew Robbins and Pacific could get the job done right. Not only was the old, original standard sleeper flooring system with 33/32″ maple still in place, but there was also a refurbished portable sitting atop the original floor that needed replacing. The portable functioned as the Runners’ center competition court, but was elevated three inches higher than the rest of the floor. Big, black ramps were installed to ease the transition, but there were still safety concerns.
“The portable court was also starting to lose its performance,” Langston said. “We knew it was important for our student-athletes who compete on that floor – men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball … to have the very best tools to have them be as successful as possible, and to make sure that we’re being conscientious about their health and their ability to perform at the highest level.”
No question, the lifespan of the two floors had expired. Neither offered the resiliency and support needed for athlete safety and success or for the success of the program itself. But, it wasn’t in the budget to replace all 25,000 square feet of gym flooring. Herthel was able to offer a solution that was cost-effective and resulted in an entire floor that looked and felt brand new.
Herthel removed the portable and replaced just the main court of the original floor underneath with a 7,300-square-foot Bio-Channel® Classic. The rest of the floor had enough life remaining to sand to bare wood, refinish it and paint it with the signature solid blue court and graphics, to tie it in seamlessly with the new court.
“You can’t even tell a difference when you look at the floor,” Langston said. “There’s no indication of where the break is from the main floor that was replaced to the floor that was refinished. I know where it is because they showed me and I recognize where it is because I was part of the project, but there isn’t another person who’s walked in there who does. Most people think we replaced the whole floor.”
The one thing everyone did recognize was the difference in the performance and comfort of the floor. The court was unveiled mid-August and Langston said athletes noticed the major improvements immediately. Before, it felt like playing on concrete. Now the comfort and resiliency were striking.
“Our basketball coaches have talked about recovery time and the guys feel so much better after practice,” Langston said. “It makes a huge difference.”
The upgraded, high-quality floor will reduce injuries, which can affect an athlete’s playing time and future career in sports. Herthel said while the method was unconventional, the results were extraordinary.
“Usually you tear out the entire floor,” Herthel said. “But this worked fine and they’ve got an excellent floor to play their games on now.”
According to Herthel, the Bio-Channel Classic is an engineered sleeper system, but it’s steel encased and anchored with a high-performance pad.
“Compared to the old 2 by 3 sleepers that would have been on a 3/8 neoprene pad which don’t last very long,” Herthel said. “This is still a sleeper system, but it’s much more advanced.”
Top programs such as Indiana, Kentucky, Duke, the Wizards, the Lakers, the Timberwolves, the Magic and the Cavaliers all use the Bio-Channel Classic. So, the CSUB Roadrunners are in good company with their new Robbins floor, dubbed Kern Schools Court.
The school is extremely satisfied with the new floor and the project was nominated for the Robbins Sports Surface of the Year Award.