The majority of the Independent schools across the UK fully understand the importance of providing world class sporting facilities, as they are a major attraction for prospective pupils and parents. As such, schools across the country are completing or embarking on major additions to their sporting infrastructure – often with immediate and striking benefits. It’s a policy that’s reaping benefits in pupil fitness and cognitive development when it concerns studying and exams. The adage of a fit body equals a fit mind cannot be ignored… a sentiment wholly embraced by an independent co-educational day and boarding school in The Cotswolds.
Kingham Hill School near the idyllic Cotswold village of Kingham was originally built by the Christian philanthropist Charles Edward Baring Young in 1886. Today, with just over 340 pupils, it caters for both girls and boys aged 11-18. There is a five-day teaching week and once lessons have finished, there is time for sport and activities every afternoon.
When it was decided to replace and re-develop the main sports hall at Kingham Hill, the aspects of quality, performance, looks and durability would be pivotal in the final flooring specification. The school turned to international flooring specialist Gerflor to supply 770m2 of its world renowned Taraflex® Performance vinyl sports flooring in Blue and Pink to provide the high performing, multi-use solution it was seeking.
Catriona Thompson, Bursar at Kingham Hill School commented, “as part of the School’s development strategy the Governing body decided that the sports hall built by our founder was no longer fit for purpose.” Catriona Thompson went on to add, “the building of a new sports centre began with the main hall within the new sports centre being one of the main focal points of the building. The floor needed to meet the needs of a range of activities including cricket, netball and football, gymnastics, badminton, fencing and social events. After researching the benefits and constraints on many products, Gerflor’s Taraflex® Performance flooring best met the criteria with the added benefit that it would bring colour and life to the space.”
The overall responsibility and flooring specification would fall to the Swindon HQ of Beard Construction who would in turn appoint a high quality flooring installer. Simon Gannon, Site Manager for Beard Construction commented,” Beard has carried out several previous prestigious projects for the school and have had a long-standing good relationship.” On matching up to the specification requirements Simon Gannon added, “the Gerflor vinyl sports flooring is perfect for the school’s requirements. It’s a well-layered floor with great flexibility and strength and feels firm underfoot with enough give for sports activities.” Simon Gannon concluded, “the Gerflor Taraflex Performance sports flooring is an outstanding high quality product and we would certainly specify it again if given the opportunity.”
Taraflex® Performance is available in 17 colours and 3 wood-effect designs as standard with an addition 110 solid colour options available with a 500sqm minimum order quantity. It offers a P2 category shock absorbency of 35% to 45%. and is recognised for providing durability, safety and comfort without impairing performance. Taraflex® Performance is treated with the Triple Action Protecsol® surface treatment, therefore no polish is ever required. It contributes to easy maintenance and is anti-friction burn whilst maximising both slide and grip. Taraflex® Performance is an ideal solution for renovation works as it’s available with the Dry-Tex™ System perfect for new construction or refurbishment projects with damp subfloors.
Richard Darby, Director from the appointed installer Reflex Sports commented, “The school wanted a flooring that could handle a large variety of sports but also offer a safe and sound feeling for participants. They were looking for a product that had a proven track record in both high level sport and for educational facilities. The client was particularly interested in point elastic flooring to prevent injury to participants and provide a comfortable feel.”
On the installation process Richard Darby said,” Gerflor’s Taraflex® products are very easy to lay, and on this project were delivered to the correct specification and on time and in budget. Gerflor even provided advice on how to get over subfloor issues without compromising the system.”
The eventual look of the Kingham Hill School was also to play a vital role in providing the best sports environment possible. Catriona Thompson went on to say, “with limited natural light within the hall, we were keen not to have a traditional single coloured floor, but to complement the neutral colours used in the rest of the building with a vibrant, statement floor – in pink and blue. The flooring also enabled us to countersink the fixing points for badminton, netball and volleyball posts removing trip hazards and keeping a sleek look to the space.”
The Taraflex® sports flooring range from Gerflor has been used by the largest international sports federations (volleyball, handball, badminton, table tennis) for decades. Through partnerships with these federations Gerflor has been present at the Summer Olympic Games since 1976. The Taraflex® range offers sensibly priced solutions for every level of performance and it is widely recognised and used within the education, community, leisure and health and fitness sectors.
Richard Darby concluded, “Gerflor are the market leader is sports vinyl for a reason…the surface is hard wearing yet comfortable, and there is obviously a lot of technology and innovation that goes into the product that other companies simply do not offer.”
Catriona Thompson ended by saying, “The Taraflex® flooring has so far proved to meet all of our expectations, performing well in every guise, whether during a sporting event or children’s party. We would definitely look to Gerflor for any of our future flooring needs.”