At Newport Central Catholic, heritage is important. NCC boasts a rich tradition and history rivaled only by the school on the hill’s sweeping, breathtaking views of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky skyline.
Laying claim to dozens of regional and state championships over the years, the NCC Thoroughbreds are one of Northern Kentucky’s winningest athletic programs. So when an anonymous donor offered $100,000 to replace the original gym floor from 1954, matched by NCC’s most notable basketball alum Dave Cowens, school officials knew the job had to be done right.
NCC turned to the professionals at Robbins and Cincinnati Floor Company for a floor that would provide their student-athletes the very best in safety and performance, while instilling pride throughout the NCC family, current staff and students, and alumni. They also wanted to pay homage to Cowens, the lead donor.
Cowens, a 1966 NCC grad, had an exceptional career in the NBA where he played for the Boston Celtics for a decade before eventually coaching in the NBA. Cowens, a two-time NBA champ, NBA MVP, Hall-of-Famer, and seven-time NBA All-Star, was chosen to the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History team. Despite moving to Maine, Cowens has never forgotten his Northern Kentucky roots, and remains very connected to his alma mater NCC.
“He was very involved with our 2006 capital campaign in not only donating, but getting other people to donate and creating a vision for our school, so we knew we could rely on his support,” said Ken Collopy, NCC Director of Institutional Advancement, English Teacher and Boys Varsity Head Basketball Coach.
Cincinnati Floor would install a 7,000 square-foot Robbins Bio-Channel Star in a parquet Boston Square pattern, as a tribute to Cowens’ Celtics days.
Instead of using paint for the graphics, a stain would be applied so the Boston Square wood pattern was more predominant.
While there was great anticipation for the new floor, there was longing for the memories the old floor held. It seemed a shame to just junk the floor that held many fond moments for those in the NCC community.
“We were actually talking to some of our alumni and they said they would really like to own a piece of the floor,” Collopy explained. “It’s got so much history on it. Then we started kind of looking around and we found Artsman.”
Artsman, a Robbins partner, was the perfect solution. Artsman removes and preserves key portions of a hardwood court (such as the center court logo or the free throw line) and turns them into memorabilia pieces like wood blocks, framed artwork or ornaments, so alumni and fans can purchase part of their history. Artsman also helps schools and organizations turn those sales into profit by being the first program of its kind to offer the fundraiser as a solution for schools to cover the costs of upgrading their gym floor or for other items.
“For alumni, it’s a way for them to tell the story for years to come,” related Chris Rose, Artsman co-founder and product designer. “Sometimes the memories fade, but 20 years down the road you can pull this piece off your shelf and relive that memory.”
And for the school, it’s a way to turn what would essentially end up as trash, into cash. Artsman handles everything from product design and manufacturing to populating an online order form through an IgniteCX custom webpage. Artsman manages the orders and fulfills and ships the orders direct to the client. The school merely reaps the rewards.
“We use the products that we make to put money back into the school,” Rose explained. “Sometimes it’s a cost neutral thing depending on what they want us to do and it’s just goodwill for the alumni, but schools can really make money off this as a fundraising opportunity.”
For Jason Bebout, regional sales representative and project manager at Cincinnati Floor, it was the first time he had worked on a project with Artsman.
Artsman retrieved roughly 500 square feet of flooring for products including specialty pieces like shadowboxes and a table for some alumni.
“We enjoyed getting to know Chris and seeing the great, very creative things they do,” Bebout said.
The Artsman concept germinated some two decades ago, but it wasn’t until three years ago that Rose and partner Pat Burke put their plan into action.
“We were talking about this and I said, ‘Why don’t we get a meeting with Robbins?’” Rose recalled, noting Robbins was then working on a Cleveland Cavaliers project. “So they said the Cavaliers just won the championship and what would we think about having the chance to chop up their floor.”
Artsman has worked with other high profile sports clients like the Los Angeles Lakers, the Cincinnati Reds, and English Premier League soccer, plus clients outside of the sports realm. But their specialty is basketball courts and their model has expanded to the collegiate and high school levels, making their services a potential financial windfall for the schools.
Every project is tailored to each individual school, but Rose said every project gives every school a pathway to raise funds, as well as positively affects the culture of the institution and the teams, and feeds an emotional connection to the school. Plus it gives Robbins dealers an edge up on their competition when they offer this service to schools.
“This would ensure that Robbins dealers get the bid over their competition,” Rose asserted. “If they [schools] make money from this program, they can afford an upgrade. Maybe instead of a Bio-Channel Classic they do an XL. Maybe instead of an XL they do an MVP. The proceeds from this will allow schools to be able to afford those upgrades.”
Proven Safety and Performance
The Bio-Channel Star offers a continuous, anchored subfIoor with interwoven design and continuous Zero/G® resilient Shockpad which provides vibration damping/control and uniformity for improved comfort. The continuous subfloor minimizes the risk of damage to the floor surface and subfloor under exposure to excessive weight. For NCC, that’s important because the floor is heavily utilized with not only sports like basketball and volleyball, but also for the school’s spring musical, major fundraisers, school assemblies and all school masses.
Shock absorption and ball bounce are improved for optimal player performance
“There’s so much more bounce and cushion to it,” Collopy beamed. “Our kids can tell the difference as far as jumping, running, playing on it. Their knees feel better so it’s not only an aesthetic thing, it’s best for the kids. The other one, it was essentially like walking on concrete. There was very little support system underneath. This one you can certainly tell a difference.”
For NCC, their primary goal was to get the best floor possible for the school, as well as show appreciation to alumni.
“It’s more of a project to be able to give back to our alumni and provide them with a piece of history and the efforts they put into playing on the floor and supporting us,” Collopy said of Artsman’s role.
And Collopy said Cincinnati Floor did a remarkable job.
“They were great. They had the workers here when they needed to be and everything went real smooth,” Collopy explained. “They were certainly great to work with, very professional. Jason Bebout did a fantastic job as our point of contact and we’re very grateful for them.”
Collopy said the entire NCC family loves the new floor, and many love that they own a piece of history in the old one.