• Article Image Alt Text
    Sport Court was chosen as the new surface inside the Rec Building at Riverside Park. The installation process will be completed on Wednesday. REGISTER/ERICK MITCHELL
  • Article Image Alt Text
    Court tiles with under-layer. REGISTER/ERICK MITCHELL

Trust the process

Iola Recreation Department makes strides to reopening Recreation Community Building; new gym surface will be water-resistant
The Iola Register

Since last October, the Recreation Community Building at Riverside Park has been out of commission. Severe flooding in the fall and spring have displaced all activities sponsored by the Iola Recreation Department. But Monday, was a big step in the right direction. 

In the building’s field house, the process of installing a new court is underway and should be concluded on Wednesday.

The previous floor was the brand Taraflex, which proved unable to withstand sustained flooding.. This go around, Recreation Director Jason Bauer decided on installing a surface known as Sport Court. The Sport Court was the cheapest option, Bauer said, and also the most reasonable because it is water-resistant. 

The court is composed of interlocking tiles with an underlayer. If the building were to severely flood again, the tiles could be removed and the underlayer replaced. 

“I liked how it looked, and was better than any of the other options that we had,” Bauer said. “If I knew this place wasn’t going to flood again, I’d say let’s go back with the Taraflex. But that isn’t an option because it is inevitable that this place is going to flood again.”

Currently, Sport Court is the official surface of the NCAA Volleyball Championships and USA Volleyball National Teams. Sport Court is also the official surface for The United States Futsal Federation, which is an officially sanctioned indoor soccer league by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA). The court also has been used by the Mid-American Youth Basketball organization. 

Marc Loe, a representative for Sports Court, believes the surface is the best option moving forward. 

“The reason why it is such a good fit is because of the moisture,” Loe said. “This is a surface that plays like a suspended hardwood floor, but it doesn’t have the disadvantages of the hard wood when it warps due to moisture. This floor can withstand a lot, and has a much bigger tolerance.”

The Iola Rec Department did not have many other options. It was either the Sport Court, or an epoxy surface which essentially is concrete. An epoxy surface would have been much tougher for volleyball athletes diving to make a play on the ball, or on the joints of those playing basketball. 

The Sport Court provides those using the surface to get a similar feel to a hard-wood floor.

“From all the testing that Sport Court has done, the ball responds at 98% similar to a hard-wood floor,” Loe said. “From a sports standpoint, it is a very good product.” 

Although the surface plays at a high level, the feel is slightly different. 

“The one thing I hear which comes from basketball purists, is that there is a different sound when the ball bounces on the surface,” Loe said. “People might take that sound and translate that to performance, if they are a purist who enjoys playing on hardwood.” 

The court is designed to have vertical and lateral forgiveness. Loe said that when you make a cut on the Sport Court, the locks connecting the tiles are made to have a little leeway. The give in the surface protects athletes’ knees and joints. The surface is a much safer surface for younger participants in sports, due to its design. 

After the Sport Court’s installation, the next step for the Rec Department will be to apply epoxy to the perimeter of the court, intended to take place in early September. When the epoxy is laid down, a transition piece will be installed to prevent the Sport Court tiles from shifting. 

Having the court installed is one step closer to the Rec Building being able to reopen. 

“I hope we are back in the building by October 1,” Bauer said. “We are all ready to be back in our daily routine. All of us are used to coming down and taking care of our day-to-day business. We are just ready to be back home.”

The Iola Register

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Iola, KS 66749
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