A year ago the gymnasium floor at the Chota Recreation Center couldn't be called feet-friendly, despite its close acquaintance with hoofers, fitness fanatics and badminton buffs. A worn 12-year-old carpet covering a concrete surface wasn't in the least hospitable to feet, elbows, knees, hips and other body parts that made contact with the floor in the busy multi-purpose gymnasium at Tellico Village in upper East Tennessee.
"Our gymnasium is used all day long from 8:30 in the morning to 7 at night, Monday through Friday," says Center manager Alicia Williamson. "People use it for badminton, fitness classes, meetings and line-dancing. And on the weekend it's given over to recreational basketball."
The time had clearly come for a new surface but the Chota Recreation Committee wanted to do more than prevent stumbles and spills from the frayed carpeting. They wanted to offer a resilient surface that would be especially beneficial to their senior clients in the retirement community 20 miles from Knoxville.
"We had been very pleased with the work Competition Athletic Surfaces did on our outdoor tennis courts," Ms. Williamson says. "So we asked them if they could provide us with a new surface for the gymnasium."
Lee Murray, one of the Competition Athletic Surfaces principals, was happy to comply. "While we're best known for outdoor surfacing, we can do surfaces for a wide range of indoor activities," Murray says. "We've done an indoor jogging track at Ooltewah High School, the floor for a cardio-vascular room at Baylor School, and a multi-purpose gym floor for a church. So we're experienced in both indoor and outdoor surfaces."
For the Chota Recreation Center, Competition Athletic Surfaces used layers of a rubberized material that forms a resilient but durable surface. "This flooring is especially appropriate for facilities that cater to seniors," Murray says. "The surface is cushioned so it's more forgiving to the feet and the joints. And, despite its comfort factor, it's long-lasting. I'd think Chota won't need new flooring for another 10-15 years."
Seventy-three-year-old Gus Noble, a badminton enthusiast who moved to Tellico from Detroit for his retirement, couldn't be more complimentary of the new gym floor. "It's just excellent," says the former hockey player. "The thickness and resiliency of the material absorbs energy very uniformly and minimizes the impact to the body.
Ms. Williamson says the Center's $36,000 investment in the new floor is proving to be well worth it. "Everyone loves the new floor," she says. "It feels better to them and it looks so much better. We chose a bright blue color for the surface. It's an improvement in every way."