After just five short years, Millersville University was experiencing a floor failure in their 22,000 sq ft fitness center at the Student Memorial Center. The large multi-purpose area is used for sporting events, fairs, assemblies, and other events that also require the use of tables and chairs. The linoleum floor that was installed five years earlier was not only breaking down at the seams, it was also becoming a safety and tripping hazard for athletes due to warping and seam separation. We talked to Sara Burcin, SMC Fitness Center Manager, about her experience and the struggles they faced with the failure of the floor “The problems were mostly with the steel plates beneath the linoleum. We found that rolling big carts, stages, and chairs and tables over it would warp the floor and it never bounced back. It was in pretty poor shape by that time and it was only five years old. It didn’t hold up at all. It was becoming dangerous because we would have basketball tournaments and the athletes were tripping on these bumps in different places on the court. And over time, it just looked terrible. So it really needed to be replaced. It was just a disaster, just a very, very poor choice of a product.”
Millersville University turned to their local Robbins dealer, Abacus Sports Installations, for advice on a replacement floor. Abacus recommended a seamless Pulastic SP140 padded polyurethane point-elastic system for its puncture resistance and strong physical properties in the “Spike Proof” resin.
“We worked through Abacus directly. They worked well with us, answered all our questions, took their time. They seem to be pretty well versed on sports floors. We went to look at several Pulastic floors around Lancaster County and found they seem to hold up really well over a long period of time, which is exactly what we needed. We went to some elementary schools that had a Pulastic floor for 20 plus years. They were using it for gym class and lunch and all kinds of things. So we were able to see the floor had been there a long time and had been used in a very similar to the way we use ours. We also looked at a 2nd manufacturers products as well. You also have other companies that want to come in and put a floor down for you for much cheaper.”
After facing a challenging demo to remove the existing heavy steel plates that were adhered together, and the linoleum that was in turn adhered to the steel plates, Abacus completed the installation of a new Pulastic SP140 floor in June 2016, just in time for the fall education semester. Not only was Millersville University extremely happy with the clean look and feel of the new floor, student feedback has also been very positive. The gamelines on the floor create three basketball courts, three volleyball courts, and nine badminton areas which are all heavily used by students. The area is also used routinely for assemblies and other events. One of the first events included new student orientation for incoming students in the fall of 2016 (see pictures below).
“We did our research and were pretty adamant about what we needed. Abacus was also good in educating us about the difference in products and advocating that they were not the same. We just weren’t willing to risk another bad experience. We did it once; we weren’t doing it again.”
About Pulastic Sports Flooring
Pulastic Sports Flooring by Robbins is a seamless floor system that provides superior safety and comfort for athletes of all ages. It is a durable and stable floor system with lasting beauty and a multitude of color options for gamelines and school logos. Pulastic can be used for almost any athletic sport including; volleyball, basketball, color guard, football, baseball, wrestling meets, or cheerleading. It is also perfect for multi-function facilities, auditoriums, or cafeterias, and provides superior strength under the everyday use of tables, chairs and bleachers.
The seamless quality of Pulastic is easy to clean and provides a hygienic solution for facilities with a high volume of users and activity. Floor system failures are often found in the seams. Pulastic is an alternative solution to tile or vinyl flooring with seams. Pulastic will last for many decades and can be given a “facelift” which recoats and restores without replacing the entire floor, all the while maintaining the physical properties of the floor performance including; shock absorption, seamless uniformity, and optimal friction.
Robbins Sports Surfaces is the leader in developing sport floors that protect the safety and performance of athletes. Whether it is a hardwood floor system or seamless synthetic like Pulastic, users can be assured they will receive the highest level of sports floor safety and comfort found on the market.
To hear from other Pulastic users, watch this short video:
Campus athletics have come a long way over the years and are not just for collegiate level athletes anymore. Facilities for recreational activities on campus have seen a tremendous amount of growth and improvements for the students and staff they serve. And for colleges that have a long history and the historical buildings to prove it, the challenge is always the same, combining the new with the old, and where to find the space to put it. The new Sumers Recreation Center at Washington University is one of those projects. The athletic complexes at Washington University recently underwent a major renovation that was completed in October 2016, and included more than 70,000 sq ft of various Robbins systems installed by Robbins dealer, Missouri Floor Company.
The project was not your ordinary rec center and was instead, a bit of a hodge podge of new and old buildings. Since the university is located within the city walls of St. Louis, MO, the location of the rec center was land locked, which meant the building had to go “up” instead of “out”. The project included a new 65,000 sq ft building addition, a renovation to the historic Francis Gymnasium which was host to the 1904 Olympics and World’s Fair, and renovations to the existing athletic complex which was constructed in 1983.
The new rec center has received national attention since its debut. It was chosen as a location for one of three 2016 presidential debates. It has also received attention for the unique and stunning graphics in the gymnasium. On top of the 25,000 square feet of Robbins Bio Cushion Classic floor, Washington University pays homage to the city of St. Louis by featuring graphics of the 1904 World’s Fair building, the Francis Fieldhouse gates, and the famous St. Louis Gateway Arch. The graphics were designed and finished on site by Missouri Floor Co. The arch was a 1:5 scale model of the real arch, and two stain colors were used to give the graphics a 3D appearance.
In addition to the recognition given to the city and university’s history, the original Francis Gymnasium which was constructed in 1903 for the 1904 Olympics and World’s Fair, was semi demolished during the construction process. The university wanted to make sure this
history was not lost and decided to incorporate part of it in the new space. The maple flooring from the Francis Gymnasium was reclaimed, installed and then sanded and refinished on the main passage way into the building. The back of the reclaimed maple was stamped “Yawkey Bissell”, which was the name of the original Robbins flooring plant in White Lake, WI and is still in full operation today. Missouri Floor Co. and the Sumers Recreation Center has also been named a finalist in Robbins’ Sports Surface of the Year Contest.
From start to finish of the flooring, the project was completed in 7 weeks. The university is very pleased with the outcome of the graphics, as well as the flooring that was hand selected for each area of the building. Robbins and Missouri Floor Company has had a long standing relationship with Washington University. Alex Verseman of Missouri Floor Co. attributes the success of this project to that relationship, “we had a history with the owner that dated back to the original athletics building construction in 1983. This was developed by past generations of Robbins and Missouri Floor, but never forgotten through the family businesses. We kept a strong relationship with the owner over the years through maintenance, misc. projects across campus, and sharing dreams of this project. When it finally became a reality it was a test of the
relationships between all 3 parties and the outcome was a success we’re all proud of!”.
Both Robbins and Missouri Floor Company are over 100 years old. And when a company has been around that long, it is safe to say they have witnessed a lot of change. Ten decades of nonstop technological advancements is bound to make a huge difference to any product or service. But one thing remains the same, the importance of quality products and quality relationships. Robbins is proud to be associated with and chosen for this project. From the days of Yawkey-Bissell flooring to now, we look forward to another 100 years serving the students at Washington University with our high performance sports floors.
About Robbins Sports Surfaces
Robbins Sports Surfaces, a division of Robbins, Inc., is a privately held, 4th generation family-owned flooring company based in Cincinnati, OH with sales offices across the U.S. and manufacturing plants in Michigan and Wisconsin.
The NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers play on a Robbins Sports Surfaces “All Star” brand floor at their home court, Quicken Loans Arena, and practice on more than 18,000 sq. ft. of the company’s “Bio-Channel Classic” flooring, one of the top floor choices among NBA franchises. The Cavs have played home games on Robbins floors since 1974.
More NBA teams compete and train on Robbins flooring than all other competitors combined, with 90% of NBA teams owning the company’s competition and/or training facility floors. Past NCAA men’s basketball champions Connecticut, Duke, Kentucky, Indiana and North Carolina play their home games on a Robbins floor.
Robbins Inc. has registered 25 patents over the years, with additional patents pending, and is the only U.S. flooring manufacturer with a full-time research and product development staff. Robbins’ unique capability and understanding of the biomechanical interaction between the athlete or performer and floor have recently led to new designs that reduce vibration and increase uniformity, both of which improve performance, comfort and safety.
In addition to Robbins Sports Surfaces, Robbins, Inc. is also the owner of Stoehr Flooring, a high-end residential flooring business, and majority owner of Egis Floorlife, an innovative after-market service business. Robbins also has a theater and dance floor division known as Robbins Performing Arts, which is dedicated to the development of performing arts floor systems that enhance the safety and comfort of performers.
For more information about each of Robbins divisions, please visit www.robbinsdancefloors.com, www.stoehrflooring.com, and www.egisfloorlife.com.
After several days of torrential rainfall poured onto the city of Eureka, MO in late December 2015, the Meramec River reached record levels, wreaking havoc on both the buildings and the residents in Eureka, a city just outside of St. Louis. Among those affected was the Eureka High School athletic building including 2 gyms and 1 multi-purpose room used for both wrestling and aerobics. After the rain had stopped, about 1” of water covered the floors of the Eureka High School athletic building. As we all know, wood and water don’t mix. 28,000 sq. ft of athletic flooring was ruined.
The Rockwood School District went into emergency mode and contacted their insurance provider for approval to restore the flooring to their gymnasium. Then, they contacted Alex Verseman at Missouri Floor Company, our local dealer in the St. Louis area, and invited him to visit the Eureka High School athletic building and assess the damage. When asked why they chose to contact Missouri Floor Company, Chris Freund, Director of Facilities for the Rockwood School District, explained “Missouri Floor Company has a great reputation for quality work in the St. Louis area. We knew Alex Verseman and had used him and his knowledge about sports flooring as a resource in previous years.”
In the midst of the basketball and wrestling season, the Rockwood School District set a goal to have the gymnasiums restored before basketball season was over. Missouri Floor Company and Robbins was up for the challenge. While another contracted company began the removal process of the damaged floors, the Robbins manufacturing plant in White Lake, Wisconsin worked additional shifts to ensure the materials were produced and shipped to meet the deadline. 21,700 sq ft of Robbins Bio Cushion Classic with MFMA Northern Hard Maple was ordered for 2 gyms, as well as 6,500 sq. ft. of Pulastic Classic 110 ECO for the wrestling and aerobic room. The main gymnasium was successfully restored and was used for the girls last game of the season on February 25, 2016. “Alex has been a pleasure to work with. He clearly understands the importance of getting things done in a timely manner. With a project like this, the gym floor was not the only thing being replaced. He did a good job at coordinating with other contractors and the school to make the installation as seamless as possible.”
Because of the dedication from the Missouri Floor team, the girls’ basketball team walked away with a win that night, both on and off the court. The reaction from players, coaches, and parents about the new floor has also been very positive. “I had a coach pull me aside the other day and was raving about how nice the new floor is. The reaction from parents and players has been amazing. We are thrilled with the new floors!”
Robbins and Missouri Floor Company was honored to be a part of the process that not only restored the gymnasium, but also restored the many activities that are conducted in the athletic building by the students, coaches, and community in Eureka, MO.
Robbins Sports Surfaces is the premier supplier of high performance maple and synthetic sports flooring systems to the arena, education, religious and fitness markets. In more than 65 nations around the world athletes compete and practice on millions of square meters of Robbins’ Sport Surfaces. Professional and amateur alike know that when they play on a high performance Robbins’ system they’ll be able to play at peak levels, safely and comfortably. For more information about Robbins sports flooring systems, please contact a Robbins representative at 1-800-543-1913, or complete the online contact form.
Robbins is happy to announce another Featured Facility and Sports Surface of the Year Finalist goes to the Ocotillo Village Health Club & Spa, installed by Stout Hardwood. The new state-of-the-art fitness facility opened in April 2015 in Chandler, AZ, making it the 4th Village Health Club & Spa location to open in the Phoenix area. The impressive 82,000 sq. ft. health club & spa features an indoor basketball court and running track, 2 racquetball and 2 squash courts, cardio, weight & functional training rooms, 2 yoga studios, and group fitness studios, in addition to many other amenities. Stout installed 12,000 sq. ft. of Robbins Bio-Cushion Classic in the gymnasium, 2,800 sq. ft. of Bio-Cushion w/ 3/4″ CP pad in the racquetball, squash, and dance studios, and 2,500 sq. ft. of Pulastic Classic 110 for the elevated running track.
Stout was chosen by Sundt Construction as the supplier and contractor for this project based on a proven history as being a reliable source for sports flooring. This project had a short completion window that occurred over the holiday season in late 2014. Stout’s relationship with Sundt Construction allowed for collaboration on design challenges and quick implementation in the field. In addition to being on a tight timeline, other delays affected the completion date including a leaky roof and a sprinkler malfunction that caused damages to the installed flooring. The materials for the Pulastic Classic 110 elevated running track and Bio Cushion in the upstairs dance studios had to be hoisted and maneuvered through a window opening 30 feet up. The 12,000 sq. ft. basketball gym floor features stained 3 point areas, custom paint, and detailed logos. The Stout Hardwood crew worked through the holidays to meet the completion deadline and despite several delays, the flooring was installed and completed on time.
We are honored to be chosen as a supplier to Ocotillo Village Health Club & Spa, and congratulate Stout Hardwood on another fantastic job! We wish them luck as a finalist in the Sports Surface of the Year contest!
Stout Hardwood is the Robbins Sports Surfaces dealer in Phoenix, AZ and surrounding areas. For more information about Stout, or to view additional completed projects, visit their website at www.stout-hardwood-floors.com or call them at 1-575-527-4143.
Robbins is happy to announce another Featured Facility and Sports Surface of the Year Finalist goes to the Duke Center for Living Facility at Duke Medicine, installed by Foster Specialty Floors. The facility was recently renovated to include over 30,000 sq ft of various Robbins flooring specially customized by Foster for each area and application. The first floor of the facility is the health and fitness center equipped with an aerobics & dance floor, a walking track, a free weight area, and cardio equipment. This floor features almost 23,000 sq ft of custom Strata Sport, Galaxy Classic, Sportwood UltraStar, and Continuous Strip XL pre-finished Maple. The second floor houses the exam rooms and rehab center and features almost 6,000 sq ft of Strata Sport and Strata Commercial. In addition, the Wallace Wing was also renovated and now includes over 2,000 sq ft of Galaxy XTreme and Strata Sport on biometric plates in the Coach K Human Performance Lab.
Foster Specialty Floors was chosen by Duke Medicine due to their extensive product knowledge, and ability to customize a floor solution to meet the various needs of their physicians, staff, patients, and members. Nancy Magiera, the Interior Designer at Duke Medicine, commended Foster by stating that “Mr. Foster, exclusively, possessed the unique combination of skills that we needed to make our very challenging project successful – an extensive knowledge of his product line in conjunction with a comprehensive command of the physical science underlying sports flooring requirements. Mr. Foster took into account not only our aesthetic concerns for the facility but also spent a great deal of time custom designing flooring systems that would address different dynamic performance characterizes, our unique friction requirements, as well as the embedding of biometric plates with in the flooring systems. His ultimate design was a perfect blend of art and science and all of the groups utilizing the building have been very positive and enthusiastic in regard to how their specifically designed sports flooring suits their unique needs. Throughout the installation of the project, Foster Specialty Floor’s tenacious attention to detail and concern for the end user’s finished product was evident on a weekly basis. The project’s extremely tight schedule was met in spite of construction complications. In the end, the flooring systems designed and installed by Foster Specialty Floors at Duke Medicine are truly One of one“.
The facility reopened after renovations in January 2015. The flooring was completely finished and installed in June 2015. The facility itself is a unique concept since it is open to the public for memberships, but many of the clients are patients from Duke University Health System with customized exercise programs to help match their health situation. They take pride in creating a low-pressure atmosphere that provides patients and the local community a place to improve their health and wellness.
We are honored to be chosen as a supplier to Duke Medicine, and congratulate Foster Specialty Floors on another fantastic job! We wish them luck as a finalist in the Sports Surface of the Year contest!
Foster Specialty Floors is the Robbins Sports Surfaces dealer in Durham, NC and surrounding areas. For more information about Foster, or to view additional completed projects, visit their website at http://www.sportsfloor.org/ or call them at 1-919-368-9324.
Robbins is happy to announce another Featured Facility and Sports Surface of the Year Finalist goes to the Prairie View A&M Student Recreation Center, installed by NAH Sports Flooring. The new 92,000 sq ft facility was completed in early 2015 and features over 22,000 sq. ft. of Robbins rubber flooring products. The new student recreation center includes a three-court basketball gym and elevated running track, weight training and fitness, multipurpose studios, a climbing wall and office spaces.
Of the 22,000 sq ft of Robbins installed products, the elevated running track features 9,200 sq. ft. of Durathon Elite, 4,500 sq. ft. of Galaxy Fit, and 8,650 sq. ft. of Galaxy Ultra in the weight training and fitness area. Prairie View needed a resilient rubber floor that was durable enough to withstand the high traffic and regular usage from its 8,000 + students and staff. This new facility is a high end recreation center that will provide a competitive advantage to Prairie View when recruiting new students, as well as athletes.
We are honored to be chosen as a supplier to Prairie View A&M, and congratulate NAH Sports Flooring on another fantastic job! We wish them luck as a finalist in the Sports Surface of the Year contest!
NAH Sports Flooring is the Robbins Sports Surfaces dealer in Prairie View, TX and surrounding areas. For more information about NAH Sports Flooring, or to view additional completed projects, visit their website at http://nahsportsflooring.com or call them at 1-713-956-2700.
Robbins is happy to announce another Featured Facility and Sports Surface of the Year Finalist goes to the The Griffin Elite Sports & Wellness Complex, installed by Cincinnati Floor Company. The new state-of-the-art 125,000 sq ft facility opened its doors to the public on October 25, 2015 and is located in Florence, KY. 22,000 sq. ft. of Robbins Bio-Channel Star was installed to create 3 full size basketball courts that can also be converted into volleyball courts. In addition, the weight room & wellness center features 7,500 sq ft of Pulastic GT100. This is a high end sports training facility that will focus on the development of skills, strength and agility for athletes of all ages, along with offering conditioning and injury recovery programs. Griffin chose Robbins Bio-Channel Star for uniformity and performance, and Pulastic GT100 seamless weight room flooring for appearance and cleanability.
In addition to basketball and strength training, Griffin also has a large artificial turf field with four 40-yard running lanes, a yoga studio, a licensed chiropractic doctor who specializes in a pain relief treatment known as Active Release Techniques (ART), and cryotherapy treatments. Griffin will offer memberships to the community, as well as local organizations like the Special Olympics, Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky and Wounded Warriors Project.
We are honored to be chosen as a supplier to The Griffin Elite Sports & Wellness Complex, and are truly grateful for their commitment to the health and well being of our young athletes. We congratulate Cincinnati Floor Company on another fantastic job and wish them luck as a finalist in the Sports Surface of the Year contest!
Cincinnati Floor Company is the Robbins Sports Surfaces dealer in Florence, KY and surrounding areas. For more information about Cincinnati Floor, or to view additional completed projects, visit their website at http://www.cincifloor.com/ or call them at 1-800-886-4501.
We sat down with Jayme Johnson, Coordinator of Facility Operations at the UC Rec Center, to discuss their experience with Robbins floor products since the facility opened in 2006. The University of Cincinnati Recreation Center houses 6 full size basketball courts, 1 run/ jog track, a large weight room area with Pulastic flooring, and 3 aerobics rooms, and was installed by our exclusive dealer, Cincinnati Floor Company. The versatility of Robbins sports flooring products helps college recreation centers better serve their current students & staff, while also serving as a recruiting tool for new students. As stated by Mr. Johnson, “Since opening our facility, the membership numbers have increased dramatically. Each year there are more and more people using the facility. I believe the floors holding up is a true testament to the durability that Robbins provides.”
As a member of our international sales and customer service division I’ve always enjoyed meeting people from different cultures and learning more about them. Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a large trade show in Europe that drew attendees from all over the world. As the visitors strolled by our exhibit space, their attention was drawn to the many banners and pictures highlighting basketball floors we’ve provided for the NBA, and large international venues like the Asian and Pan Am games. Even though there were significant language barriers at times, you could see the dawn of recognition in their eyes and the smiles on their faces as they connected famous international sports venues, NBA teams and Robbins as the provider. Then came the inevitable exclamations of “Robbins – USA – NBA – AHHHH”. Cultural barriers immediately came down as we found a common connection through sports.
In fact, one gentleman from Bahrain was so excited to learn that we had supplied the sports floor in a well-known venue in his country, that he had us take a photo of him using the banner of his floor as the backdrop so that he could share it with his friends and family at home. I was proud and humbled at the same time to see the impact our business had on him and the many others who stopped by to talk about sports floors.
Equally exciting was the opportunity to work with customers and to meet designers, architects, and builders that had specified and installed Robbins sports floors. To work with those individuals that brought a sporting venue from start to finish, using Robbins products, transported a feeling of nothing more than satisfaction. A process much like birth; from log, to lumber, to a finished stick of hard maple floor, to a project, an installation, a venue. As a result of life, I found that the satisfaction with each project was larger than me, that the entire team, shared in it, enveloped it, and was gratified by the results.
Whether it’s the Little League World Series, The World Cup, or The Olympics, sports have the ability to transcend cultural differences. On the court, the pitch, or the ball diamond, political and cultural differences seem to take a back seat, at least for a little while as teams and individuals compete for the pure joy of the game. I know that I came back to the U.S. with a deeper appreciation that what I do every day makes a difference in the lives of others and helps them achieve their dreams – whether it’s for a world-class venue, or for a local school it’s a good feeling. And hey, with over 7 billion people on earth in 196 countries, there’s plenty of people to meet and plenty of work to do – I can’t be more excited!
Written and published by Brenda Havens, Robbins International Customer Service.
What kind of athlete can carry a 120 lb person on their back, while jumping over hurdles, and running at speeds up to 50mph? You guessed it! Our 4-legged hoofed friend also known as the Horse.
I am from Kentucky. And anyone that lives in (or around) Kentucky knows that the 1st Saturday in May is Derby Day. And while attending the actual race is normally set aside for celebrities and the upper class (along with the 20 something that is ready to party…), the Kentucky Derby is a tradition. From Mint Juleps to Derby Pie, the derby showcases one of the greatest features Kentucky is known for- their Horses.
Horses are athletes too. Although not often thought of this way, sports involving horses go way beyond the KY Derby. In the US alone, over 5 million horses are involved in some type of sport including; racing, horse shows, rodeos, etc… For many, Equestrian Sports is a full time commitment. Training and conditioning for a horse can be just as intensive as a professional basketball player.
So what does sports flooring have to do with horses? For a variety of reasons, many of our 4-legged athletes are housed in horse stalls within a stable and can spend upwards of 50% of the day in their stall. Horses can weigh anywhere from 1,000 – 2,000 pounds depending on breed. This takes a significant toll on their joints, especially since they are standing most of the day and night. Health and safety are the highest priorities for horse owners. A poorly constructed horse stall floor can lead to a slew of health issues. Solid or uneven equestrian surfaces are hard on the joints, and will delay recovery time from injuries. Absorbent floors are harder to clean and promote bacterial growth, leading to respiratory problems and illness. Surfaces without good traction and comfort can lead to injury from slips and falls.
Spencer Proud of Abacus Sports Installations, is a specialist in the installation of equine flooring and has installed thousands of square feet for horse stalls, vet clinics, zoos, etc… I asked him what the biggest concern that Equestrians have when selecting the right flooring, “All equestrians are concerned about slip/fall protection, bio-security and cleanability. They want a system that provides a comfortable slip resistant footing, is both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, and can be easily cleaned using most detergents. This benefits them- and the horses. And our systems provide that”.
Sports flooring is not a one size fits all for every athlete- even for the mammal variety of athletes. However, characteristics that make up a good sports floor for the human athlete, are very similar for our hoofed friends as well. When searching for the appropriate horse stall flooring, it is important to look for the features that will support the long term health and safety of your animals. There are several different rubber stall mats or seamless flooring features to consider including;
- Cushioned for Comfort & Energy– Easier on Joints & Safer during Recovery
- Easy to Clean– Maintains Proper Hygiene
- Durable & Resilient– Withstand Weight from Horse
- Good Traction & Slip Resistant– Prevents Falls when Wet or Dry
- Seamless & Non-Absorbent – Prevents Bacterial Growth
And while your horse may not be the next Secretariat – or the favorite to win this weekend, he or she is still your highest priority. Choosing the right flooring is not an easy task. But doing your research and making the investment in the right floor will benefit you- and provide the right protection for your horse- in the long run.
For more information on flooring for Equine, Animal Hospitals, Vet Clinics, Zoos, or other animal facilities, click here to view our rubber and poured polyurethane products specially made for animals.
Abacus Sports Installations of Lancaster, PA is the exclusive Pulastic dealer for Robbins Sports Surfaces in the state of PA . For more information on Abacus Sports Installations please visit their website http://www.abacussports.com/ or call them at 800.821.4557.
The college fieldhouse of today looks very different than it did 30, or even 20 years ago. It is expanding. And not just a little- a lot- I mean literally “I ate so much I nearly split my pants” growing. For years colleges have
been upgrading classrooms and labs, building campus rec centers, adding academic programs, and the “never can have enough” parking spaces. And now, they are breaking the “dome” ceiling and using the new fieldhouse design to create a space for both students and community.
For students, what was once mostly used for the competitive college athlete, is now home to track meets, intramural sports, tennis, volleyball/basketball tourneys, and student socials. These facilities open up greater opportunities for the average student who just wants to enjoy intramural sports or is part of a non-athletic team or club.
For communities; corporate fitness programs, special events like banquets, trade shows, or concerts, dance competitions…are just a few examples of how communities are using the 21st century fieldhouse. Equipped with abundant seating and state of the art concession stands, these modern fieldhouses are an attractive option for event planners. Athletic departments are also hosting youth sports camps which not only benefit young athletes, but helps the departments raise funds for other needs. And what kid wouldn’t want to attend sports camp at the same school where their favorite college quarterback or point guard goes? That’s a no brainer!
So what does all this mean for you? Let’s assume if you are reading this blog you are likely to be interested in some form of sports flooring. It is important to remember that not all surfaces are created equal. Meaning, different floor types are used for different purposes. Hence the reason maple is typically used for basketball since it is has the perfect combination of resiliency, surface friction, and hardness. However, maple is not always the recommended choice. In a fieldhouse like the one I just described, we would highly recommend a synthetic surface. Synthetic flooring comes in all shapes and sizes. There is rubber, padded polyurethane, vinyl, plastic tiles, just to name a few. I know what you’re saying. A “few” Jamie? Really? Okay, there are a lot of options for field house flooring out there. So how will you know which surface is right for you?
Purchasing a new sports floor is a big deal. It requires time and effort to research the various surfaces available, and the right one for your facility. I mean, let’s face it. You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without trying them on, so you’re selection of a sports floor shouldn’t be any different. A few things to consider when searching for the right floor:
- What is the primary purpose of the building? Will it be a multi-purpose facility for recreation? Or will it be used for competitions or track meets?
- What activities will take place on the floor? Basketball? Volleyball? Soccer? Fitness? Track? If track- will the athletes wear cleats? If so, you will need a spike proof surface to prevent damage from the cleats.
- Are the right decision makers involved? The track coach, the facility manager, campus recreation director, etc… It is important to have someone on the selection committee that understands surface friction, injury prevention, comfort, etc…
- What is your maintenance budget and cleaning expectations? Some surfaces require more hours of labor in cleaning.
- What is your expectation of the life expectancy of the floor or building? Some floors will last longer than others.
- Do you have environmental concerns? For example, California has strict regulations with regards to urethane and top coat paints.
- What is your color or logo needs? Darker colors are easier to maintain and clean. Therefore, if your school colors are white and blue, you may choose blue as your primary color, with white as an accent.
- Will you have bleachers or seating on top of the floor? Will you have other heavy equipment on the floor at times (i.e. stages or lifts for events). Not all floors are made to withstand heavy equipment or bleachers, but some are. Knowing that up front is critical in the selection process.
I know this list seems daunting, and I’m not going to lie, it is a long process. But just like the athlete trains to compete and is rewarded with a win- your time and effort will also pay off in the end. You will have an outstanding facility that students and the community will flock to, and a floor that is safe, durable, and versatile enough to reach the masses.
In the words of the great Michael Jordan “If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”
The RIGHT people + The RIGHT Information = The RIGHT Decision