Champions Centre Takes Advantage of Rubber Flooring

Event-Driven Church’s Switch to Rubber Flooring Allows for Even More Innovation

By Brett Hart

 

For an event driven church like Champions Centre, minimizing costs for maintenance and replacement of its flooring is a big deal – especially as its events become more creative. That’s why, in 2011 it began converting nearly all of the carpeted surfaces of its 180,000 square foot main campus in Tacoma, Washington, over to polished concrete and rubber flooring surfaces.

The non-denominational church has three campuses that include a school and dome event center (which served as inspiration for the Tacoma Dome) and hosts numerous large events throughout the year.

Champions Centre with Greatmats Rubber Flooring in Theater

The Need for Durable Flooring
Steve Shackett, whose father was the founding paster, found that ”our carpets were getting beat to death.”

Drawing upon his construction background, Shackett began looking into flooring that would be easily maintained, durable and long lasting.

”We’re constantly renovating and updating,” Shackett said. ”We have coffee shops and book stores in all of our locations and we allow our folks to bring coffee into the auditoriums. Once you spill a latte, its pretty tough to get it out. So we were looking for that kind of material and we found it. We found something comfortable and lasting in the rubber.”

Champions Centre Event Center with Greatmats Rubber Flooring

Extreme Floor Makeover
Shackett began Champions Centre’s switchover to rubber flooring by installing approximately 6,100 square feet of 3/8 inch thick 3×3 foot rubber tiles – which were black with a 10 percent tan/mocha color flec blend – in the first year.

A year later, he installed another 1,200 square feet of black rolled rubber of the same thickness and an additional 7,500 square feet of the rubber tiles – this time with 20 percent color.

”We like the rubber tiles,” Shackett said. ”We have that in our auditoriums, primarily because you can do it custom with a little bit of color speckles, and it adds just some depth, and it looks better. We use the rolled black rubber in our auditoriums and three different stages just for the solid black color on the platform itself.”

champions-centre-rubber-floor

In each of the last six years, Champions Centre has continued to convert more of its facility over to rubber flooring at a pace of anywhere between 900 and 8,900 square feet per year. From stage areas to hallways, auditorium floors and even stairways, Champions Centre continues to find innovative ways to use rubber flooring to its advantage.

This year, Shackett has a 1,500 square foot installation of rubber tiles planned for the school, bringing its total rubber flooring area to approximately 24,200 square feet – 17,000 square feet in tiles and 7,200 square feet in rolls.

champions-centre-staircase

Serving the Purpose
”We found that that was the most practical and efficient way to maintain our facilities,” said Shackett, who has been with the church for 40 years. ”It should be there until I’m long gone.”

”We do a lot of things in our auditoriums and on our stages with lighting,” Shackett added. ”It’s a progressive way to maintain your facility. It just makes sense. Our last men’s conference, we had motorcycles doing jumps in our auditorium off a ramp and it didn’t do anything to them.”

Champions Centre’s main auditorium seats 2,500 people, and it also has another auditorium with seating for 750.

”In both auditoriums, the rubber is very important to us because it allows us to always look fresh and clean, and yet it is so durable. It doesn’t look worn and beat up.”

To maintain the floor, Champions Centre runs a Zamboni-like floor washing machine across the floor 2-4 times per month, which Shackett says makes the floor look ”brand new and fresh.”

”We’re not a normal church,” Shackett said, noting it has a 7,000-8,000 member congregation and five services per weekend. ”Pastor Kevin Gerald is a forward thinking pastor. … We do a big Christmas production over the holiday. And we have all kinds of sleighs and different things going in and out of the auditorium. You can do so much with it, and you don’t have to worry about covering it or being aware that you may ruin the carpet.”

”Everyone that comes here, the first thing they ask is ‘Hey! Where’d you get that floor?”’ Shackett said. ”We love it. It’s durable. It makes sense. It’s practical and it looks great.”

Champions Centre with Greatmats Rubber Floor Tiles in Hallway

Steve Shackett
Champions Centre
Tacoma WA 98404
For more on this topic please review our Rubber Flooring product page.
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Vulcanization

Rubber is an amazing invention.  It can be used in a number of remarkably different applications because of its versatility.  Natural rubber, for example is extremely elastic.  It can oftentimes be found in products where its unique flexibility is desired like rubber bands or some types of gaskets.  It can also be found in some types of specialty flooring.  However, natural rubber is also brittle when it gets cold and tends to lose shape when warm.  It is for this reason that vulcanization is required for the manufacture of many rubber products.  (Many products such as rubber flooring, tires, and hockey pucks are created from vulcanized rubber.)
The process was initially pioneered by Charles Goodyear (of Goodyear Tire fame.)  He found, accidentally, that rubber tended to char like leather when it came in contact with heat.  He also found that, regardless of the temperature, the rubber would not fully melt but rather continue to char when heated in sulfuric acid.  He was able to char the rubber to the point where it became resistant to heat and cold and found that the process was irreversible.  The rubber would maintain these new properties indefinitely.  This made rubber products such as tires and eventually rubber flooring possible.  Further developments after Goodyear’s initial experimentation eventually led to vulcanization as it is performed today.
Vulcanization is a chemical process that cures rubberor related polymersinto more durable materials by adding various accelerators (which is sulfur in most cases.) These additives change the polymer by forming crosslinks between the individual polymer chains. The process was named after Vulcan, Roman god of fire.  Hard vulcanized rubber is used to make hard rubber articles such as bowling ballsand mouthpieces for band instruments. Vulcanized rubber materials tend to be less sticky and have superior mechanical properties to natural rubber.
There are a variety of methods used for vulcanization. The most important method (used for the vulcanization of tires) uses high pressure and temperature. This type of vulcanization is called compression molding. In this scenario, the rubber article adopts the shape of the mold. Other methods, for instance to make door profiles for cars, use hot air vulcanization or microwave heated vulcanization.
Call Greatmats at 877-822-6622.