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Facility Profile - March 2009

Fit Floors

Southtowns Family YMCA in West Seneca, N.Y.

By Emily Tipping


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MCA Buffalo Niagara was established in 1852, making it the second oldest YMCA in the United States. It currently operates seven branches and two camps in Western New York, including the Southtowns facility, which opened in West Seneca in 2003.

Fitness and wellness programs are an important part of the YMCAs mission across the country, and the Southtowns Family YMCA is no exception. More than 18,000 members visit the facility, making it quite active and busy, according to Brian Byrne, corporate properties manager for YMCA Buffalo Niagara.

"The Southtowns facility has a combination of cardio fitness with circuit trainers and a free weight area," Byrne said. "It's about 8,000 square feet."

Between the heavy traffic, the bitter winter weather and other challenges, the five-year-old flooring-a combination of carpet in the cardio area and composite flooring in the free-weight area—had taken a beating and was showing some wear and tear.

"The existing rubber floor and carpet was wearing out and starting to look bad," said George Atkinson of Infinity Flooring, "but another major issue was sound."

Located on the second floor of the Southtowns facility, the existing flooring in the cardio and free weight area was inadequate for keeping things quiet for patrons taking part in childcare and other programs on the floor below.

"Any time someone would run on the treadmills, drop a weight or lower a weight stack, you'd hear it downstairs," Atkinson added.

With this combination of issues driving the YMCA to replace the flooring, Byrne said they had to make a decision: Should they replace the carpet with more carpet, or look for a more high-tech solution?

He said the YMCA contacted Infinity Flooring and got plenty of references, mainly from big-name colleges and campuses, and mostly for free-weight areas.

"It seemed to be the answer to our troubles," Byrne said. "It comes in 2-foot by 2-foot squares, and there's three dowels on each side of the square that lock into each other, so if a tile were to get damaged you can just replace the one tile instead of the whole floor."