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KNOWLES REC CENTER RE-OPENS

By Jenna Campbell
UW-RF University Communications

NOV. 4, 2005--The Robert P. Knowles Physical Education and Recreation Building opened its doors on Nov. 1 to reveal new flooring for the benefit of student and community athletes. The project began at the end of July. The floor was completely refinished in three parts:   the track, the interior and the perimeter.  

"Our goal was to put out the best product for our users," says Steve Stocker, director of the Hunt/Knowles Complex.

That was welcome news to the more than 8,000 community members, students, faculty, staff and other athletes who use the building each year.

The products to replace the 18-year-old floor came from two manufacturers. Robbins Sports Surfacing provided the interior floor in a dusty gray color that brightens up the entire complex over the old green flooring.

The new style floor, Polastic SP, is spike-proof and was installed by Anderson-Ladd of St. Paul . UW-RF is only the second institution in the country to use this flooring, says Stocker. This surface is very smooth and has additional cushioning that makes it easier on the joints of athletes. While the floor is used for multiple recreational purposes, the dominant court boundary lines are for tennis and conform to NCAA rules for conference play by teams in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

The other supplier was Mondo Track in Canada. Mondo's Super X Premium track, which is the thickest, softest rubber track in its product line, was installed by Kieffer,   based in Illinois. The track is used by UW-RF teams, for high school track and field meets, and by community members.                     

Other uses besides athletic was considered in choosing the floor, says Stocker, including the annual home and garden show as well as UW-RF commencement ceremonies. A significant decision-making factor was the floor's durability due to the high traffic in the complex. This project cost $656,000.

There are also some long-term goals for the Knowles center, said Stocker, including addressing a need for more storage, classroom space, a perimeter net and enhanced lighting.

The building is open to the community Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.; on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.; and on Sunday from 3 to 9 p.m.

"The floor is unbelievable, I'm very pleased," said Stocker. "We were very fortunate to have two really good installers that were contractors affiliated with Unicorp in St. Paul.   All of the feedback that I've received has been very positive."

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