Feature Article - July/August 2006
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Special Supplement: Complete Guide to Sports Surfaces and Flooring

Something's Afoot

By Kara Spak

Carpeting: to tile or not to tile?

Though The Centre's designers chose not to put carpeting in the main entrances, there are plenty of areas in this immense structure that are carpeted.

In a modest-size snack area that houses several small tables, chairs and vending machines, there is tile carpet that was laid down in squares with a light adhesive. Tile carpeting also is found in a senior center/teen center area, the administrative office wing and a conference room.

The tile carpet is about 50 percent more expensive than wall-to-wall carpeting, Lawry says, but the trade-off is that the tiles are easier to maintain.

"If you have an accident, you can pull it up easily to replace it," he says. With the tile carpeting, there is more control

over the design. "You can create different effects," he says.

The hallway leading to the preschool classrooms are carpeting tiles that create a winding-path effect of green, rust and tan colors. Inside the classrooms are half carpet, half vinyl tile flooring. This separates the areas where the children play and are read to on the floor and where they enjoy messy activities like snack time and arts and crafts.

In the room, the carpeted areas are wall-to-wall, not tile, Lawry says.

Women at The Centre of Elgin, like many fitness clubs, have a separate exercise space with circuit weight machines and cardiovascular equipment like treadmills, stationery bikes and elliptical trainers. The carpeting in this room is carpet tile, while the carpeting in the larger, general weight room is wall-to-wall.

"The women's workout area was not originally set up for a women's workout area," Lawry explains. The disadvantage of the carpet tile in a fitness area is that the tile is hewn to the floor with a mild adhesive.

"It can start moving around," he says. "You need wall-to-wall so the carpet does not move under the heavy machines."

Climbing wall-a floor to fall for

The Centre of Elgin features a 32-foot-high climbing wall with a 360-degree climbing surface that simulates a rope climb up a mountain. The floor beneath this faux Everest must be soft and pliant enough to provide a soft landing to those taking the climbing challenge.

"Obviously we had to have fall protection," Lawry says. This fall protection comes in the form of an 8-inch-thick rubberized, pulverized material mixed with a binding material.

Like many floors in The Centre, the color in the climbing wall area is rust.

"You could pick any color of this," Lawry says. "There was a really wide range."