Supplement Feature - September 2008
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Choices in Indoor Sports Surfaces

By Sue Marquette Poremba


efore opening the Smoky Mountain Sports Complex in Elizabethton, Tenn., owner Fred Gause recognized the need for a large-scale, professionally equipped and operated basketball facility in the region.

Gause inspected other facilities before making his decision. He knew he wasn't looking for a wood floor, so he headed to Greenville, Tenn., to see a recreation center there. "[The floor there has] been in existence for nine years and looks like it was put in yesterday," he said.

When choosing a surface for indoor sports and recreation, the experts are united in one piece of advice: Choose the surface that best fits your needs.

That's what Angel Devarez from Saint Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y., discovered. When the college was building a second gym, Devarez considered how the facility would be used when making his decision on the type of flooring to be used.

"The floor would be used for other events, not just athletics," Devarez explained. "We'll use it for volleyball, but we'll also use it for commencement. We considered a wooden floor, but that was out of the question because it was too difficult to use for the parties we'd be holding there."

The floor he chose was picked because it not only would be durable enough for all kinds of activities and street shoes, but also because care of the floor was simple. "We use soapy water to mop it," Devarez said.

The school's main gym is a wooden floor that is only used for basketball games, and that was taken into consideration when the school built the second gym. The new floor's main purpose is as a gym floor. "It’s used for basketball practices, volleyball and student sports activities," Devarez said.

The floor, he added, actually looks more like a ceramic tile floor than a gym floor, but it is actually a resilient vinyl synthetic surface. It was installed five years ago, and despite the variety of activities and the frequent use, Devarez has been pleased with the way the floor has held up.