Whitby School Combines Performance and Practicality
For student athletes to achieve at the highest level, they need a gym that performs at the highest level.
Just as an effective teacher has more experience than the student, a gym floor is ideally designed for competition above the level of its users. This is especially true where a wide range of ages play on the same court as in some K-8 schools. Younger students are empowered to see the older students compete on the exact same court that they practice on. They realize that the floor is the same. The goals are the same. The uniforms are the same. The only difference between them and the next level is hard work and determination. Imagine seeing a professional team play on the same court. Would that change your perspective on what is possible?
When head of the school Bryan Nixon and his colleagues decided to expand their athletic center to accommodate all their students in one space, this the principle they had in mind. The mission of the Whitby School, which is located in Greenwich, Connecticut, has always been to inspire and empower the next generation to achieve its full potential. The school certainly had a reputation for excellence in education and wanted to have an equally strong athletics and physical education program. That meant finding a court with the highest sports performance characteristics available.
The other circumstance that could not be ignored was that Whitby’s new athletic center would serve in capacities other than sports. It would host student assemblies, graduation ceremonies, meetings, and other events. The challenge was that most high-performance flooring systems were not typically the ones that excelled in multipurpose uses. The school was not certain that it could find a sports surface that would meet both its performance and practicality expectations.
Having built a new sports hall at his previous school in Munich, Germany, Bryan Nixon knew that sports flooring was different in the United States. He saw more hardwood courts than anything else, but those carry with them the need for periodic refinishing, which would be impractical for the Whitby School. The school considered a gym floor more like the ones common in Europe, one with an easy-to-clean resilient surface but with the sports performance properties comparable to any high-end hardwood system. This type of flooring is called a combination system, because it combines a point-elastic surface with an area-elastic underlayment. Combination systems are considered by many to be the best of indoor athletic surfaces in terms of performance.
The difficulty was that there were few flooring providers with the right products and expertise to make a combination system possible. As it turns out, the Whitby School contacted one of the few manufacturers that could provide the floor it needed.
The Solution for Whitby School
Omnisports™ Lumaflex Golden Maple
The floor that took the Whitby School to the next level of athletics was Omnisports™ Lumaflex.
Omnisports™ Lumaflex is a combination system that consists of an Omnisports™ surface installed over an 18 mm birch plywood structure with shock-absorbing foam underneath. Its performance is outstanding, even to the most meticulous critic. The system provides Class 4 shock absorption per ASTM F2772 and it has a degree of uniformity that yields almost identical performance anywhere on the court. On top of all that, it has a the classic maple appearance and easy-to-clean surface embossing of Omnisports™.
“We chose the combination system really for two main reasons, the first being that we wanted a floor that performed like, if not better, than wood. Secondly, we wanted a system that required limited maintenance. So when you put those two things together, the combination system was the ideal solution for us. And having played on the court myself as a member of our faculty and staff basketball team, I can tell you that unlike when we had the wooden floor, there isn’t an area of the court that doesn’t perform as it should...It’s easy to clean. It’s easy to maintain and we get great use of a surface that performs as well as any surface I’ve used. Having built a sports hall in Germany as well, it’s great to see a system similar to what we used in Europe available here in the US.”
—Bryan Nixon, Head of School
Regardless of the activity or the level of competition, Omnisports™ Lumaflex is equal to the task. The Whitby School has used their new gym to accommodate a variety of events including basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, gymnastics, physical education, and even rock climbing. In addition, the school has also been able to use the same space for meals, assemblies, and even graduation ceremonies.
“The flooring system has been actually well utilized...since we have opened in February, we’ve had all sorts of team practices in here: basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer. We’ve also hosted the Harlem Wizards, which is a farm team of the Harlem Globetrotters and we had an event here where they played a faculty and parent team to open our new gym. Judging by the way they dunked the ball, the flooring system works magnificent. We’ve also been able to host our graduation in here. So in other words, we were able to insure that the flooring can provide sports, but also any other events that a school might want to use in a gymnasium...We’ve had everything from cocktail hours for new parents through to our graduation.”
—Bryan Nixon, Head of School
For an athletic center that hosts anything from a kindergarten assembly to a Harlem Wizards basketball game, and everything in between, Omnisports™ Lumaflex has all the bases covered. No other athletic flooring system combines professional-level performance with the practical convenience of a resilient surface. It is a playing surface that you have to experience to believe.
Tarkett Sports • 175 N Industrial Boulevard • Calhoun, Georgia 30701 • 888-364-6541 • tarkettsportsindoor.com