LBWA — Indoor Court Surfaces

Editor’s Note: This column, “LBWA” (Leadership By Wandering Around), is based on the premise that, in order to find out what’s going on in the field, a parks and rec leader has to leave his or her desk and “wander around” the area of operations, talk to people, ask questions, and kick around ideas with the individuals in the thick of delivering services to the public. So the author will bring up issues and ask the leaders among the readership to share their knowledge and experiences.  

The type of surface can be the difference between a widely used facility that elicits praise and a sparsely used building that draws complaints.  Photos Courtesy Of Rockford Ill. Park District

The type of surface can be the difference between a widely used facility that elicits praise and a sparsely used building that draws complaints.

Photos Courtesy Of Rockford Ill. Park District

The Indoor Sports Center (ISC) in Rockford, Ill., recently hosted one of the most unique uses of a parks and rec indoor facility—a circus complete with an elephant!

A vast majority of parks and rec departments won’t ever have to face that type of strain on an indoor court surface; however, since the dawn of indoor facilities, there has been an ongoing discussion about the best type of surface and the various uses of indoor courts.

In the old days, program participants felt fortunate if they had an indoor facility that featured a hardwood floor—and even then it was generally just for basketball; without this surface, most players were willing to settle for concrete or tile.

However, modern-day users have become much more sophisticated, so parks and rec pros have tried to listen to their customers and provide them with what they want. Now the use of indoor facilities is limited only by the imagination. From bridal shows to circuses, an indoor facility must be many things to many people, and as a result, the floor takes a real beating.

Selecting A Surface

In turn, the indoor sport-court industry offers a plethora of choices, each with its own unique qualities. The selections are so abundant that parks and rec professionals are wise to educate themselves thoroughly before purchasing new or upgraded court surfaces. The right choice is not as simple as might be expected because there are so many factors to consider:

  • Is the court a new construction or a retrofit?
  • Who will be using the court, now and in the future?
  • What sort of stress will events and users inflict on the floor? Will it be high or low impact?
  • Will the use be single- or multi-purpose?
  • What type of routine and long-term maintenance will be required, and how much will it cost?

The type of surface can be the difference between a widely used facility that elicits praise and a sparsely used building that draws complaints.

And, once the choice is made, a modern sport court can serve for many years if properly maintained.

Maintenance Matters

Built in 1995, Rockford’s ISC is a 60,000-square-foot, multi-purpose facility with courts that entertain several events, everything from basketball, volleyball, and golf to football, wheelchair sports, and trade shows. The circus was a recent addition.

One-third of the facility (20,000 square feet) has a special sport surfacing that has been in use since 2001. ISC’s manager Louis Mateus notes that it has held up very well.

“We do multiple events on it. We’ve found that it is especially good for volleyball,” he notes, adding the center has a large youth and adult volleyball program with tournaments almost every weekend. Not only does the facility serve the city’s population of more than 150,000, but Mateus says that people from all over the Midwest use the facility.

A secret to the longevity of indoor sport courts is proper, preventive, routine maintenance, but Mateus says even with heavy use, it isn’t complicated.

Page 1 of 2 | Next page

Related posts:

  1. Athletic Facility Awards
  2. Order On The Court
  3. LBWA–Multi-Use Natural-Turf Fields
  4. LBWA–Let Sport Lights Shine Bright
  5. LBWA–Freeze Frame
  • Columns
  • Departments