New university-grade, parquet-wood flooring in the Tracy Fieldhouse is latest upgrade to the nearly 30-year-old facility.
The Grosse Pointe Academy’s Tracy Fieldhouse, originally built in 1990, is one of the most important spaces on GPA’s beautiful campus. It’s a place where children compete, perform and play throughout the school year. Many of the Academy’s special events also are held in the Fieldhouse, including eighth-grade graduation, the William Charles McMillan III Lecture Series and the school’s annual Action Auction.
Over the past 12 months, a new roof was installed on the structure and new interior lighting that vastly improved visibility, flexibility and energy efficiency also was added to the facility. Now, as the month of July draws to a close, finishing touches are being applied to a new floor in the Fieldhouse.
According to Kevin Richards, GPA’s athletic director, the work on the floor began on June 10 and is expected to be totally complete just after the first of next month.
“I’ve got my basketball camp starting on August 5, so we will be among the first to test it out,” said Richards, who added that the new surface will sport an oversized Bulldog logo at center court and be lined for an 84-ft. main court and three smaller side courts. He also said the floor will be constructed from wood, which will be much more durable than the previous Tartan floor surface and less prone to slippage for the student-athletes.
The product being installed is called Robbins Sportwood Ultra Star, according to Jordan Foster, who is vice president of Wixom, Mich.-based Foster Special Floors, which is handling the installation.
“The floor system utilizes a parquet maple wood that is milled in Ishpeming, Michigan,” Foster said. “We are installing it on a Zero-G foam shock pad that is overlaid over the previous Tartan floor. This system will give the students and athletes a very uniform playing surface with high shock absorption properties, which means a much safer floor for the users compared to traditional sports floors and especially the floor GPA had previously.”
Foster said they left the existing floor in place to act as an additional vapor barrier over the slab and also add more cushion as a base-mat layer to the new floor system.
“We then roll out our foam shock pad, put down two layers of sheeting and install the maple sections in alternating directions to ensure the strength of the floor system from top to bottom,” Foster said. “After the floor system is completely installed, we sand the entire surface smooth, lay down the stained graphics that highlight certain areas of the court. Following that, we apply a floor sealer, paint all the graphics, lines, and logos, and then apply the finish.”
Besides the current GPA work, Foster, which has been in business since 1924, has worked on other athletic floors in the Grosse Pointes, most recently at University Liggett and Grosse Pointe North High School. The company specializes in college and university installations and has done most of the Division-1 schools in the state, including U-M, MSU, Oakland University, U-D Mercy and CMU.
Academy Head of School Tommy Adams is thrilled that the Tracy Fieldhouse is getting all of this new attention.
“We also are most grateful for our generous school community, which made all of these upgrades possible,” he said. “The Paddle Raise from our 2017 Action Auction raised enough for the new roof and lighting, and a $130,000 anonymous donation is making the new floor possible. I can’t wait to see it all complete and ready for the kids when the new school year begins!”