Supplement Feature - September 2012
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A Court for Every Need

Improve Playability, Longevity Maintenance & More

By Julie Knudson

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

If you're considering a portable synthetic floor and you want to know what it's really like, ask the guy who has to lay it down and roll it up before and after every game. At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), that guy is building services technician Scott Schroeder.

"For the most part, it should be a permanent floor," he said of the new volleyball court surface. "But because of our situation, we're making it portable."

The surface is in rolls that Schroeder said are about six feet wide and nearly 400 pounds. "We finally had to have them cut it; it was too big to handle," he recalled.

After playing for 15 years on what Schroeder described as "a lovely wood floor" featuring six inches of cushion underneath, the athletics department decided the players would benefit from something a little more forgiving. "One of the selling points is that it reduces a lot of wear and tear on the players," Schroeder said of the synthetic surface. That old wood floor is still in place, but the Huskers volleyball team now plays their games with the synthetic surface on top.

Competing pressures for court space led UNL to select a floor that could be installed, moved and removed. The recreation center supports not only volleyball, but also basketball and other activities. And while the floor would do best with 24 hours to "relax" once it's been unrolled, Schroeder said they don't usually have that kind of time. "We unroll it and then tape it down to the existing floor," he explained, adding that double-sided tape accomplishes the task. The floor moves, shrinks and expands as it settles in, but Schroeder said "once it's down, it's very nice." After the floor has been secured, Schroeder's team tapes on the out-of-bounds and 10-foot lines.

Installing and removing the floor requires additional time and staff resources, something Schroeder said organizations need to understand if they want to get the best performance out of their floor. After working with the new surface for a year, he said the relaxation requirements should definitely be followed whenever feasible. "You can either fight it or you can let it do what it needs to do and then work with it," he said. Another advantage of the portable floor: When the Huskers play at other venues, they have the option of bringing their home turf with them.