A solid foundation provides endless fellowship opportunities

Flooring choice offers a Texas church flexibility, environmental stewardship and additional outreach capabilities.

By Robin Traum

The level of activity in the unofficially-opened gym/recreation/worship center at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship Church in Carrollton, TX moves steadily during the summer months. In the fall the pace is expected to pick up dramatically when programming increases and the new gym’s full potential is realized.

Since the gym’s February opening Bent Tree’s members danced on the 16,000-square foot-floor at an annual Valentine’s Day Sock Hop and more recently held a Fourth of July indoor picnic and BBQ. The holiday activities including a “Cupcake Walk,” volleyball and basketball games, ping pong matches, billiards competitions, spades tournaments, board game playoffs, Four Square and parachute toss games.

“We really want this to be a gymnasium but we want it to be multipurpose as well,” explains Bent Tree’s director of communications Dennis Richards. “We use it as a gymnasium and then set up chairs and tables without damaging the floor.”

Vision for the space

The flexibility and durability of the flooring is crucial to fulfilling the vision for the space. Knowledge about future planned programs helped the six members of the church’s “interiors team” decide which flooring product to select. One of the members who has played volleyball and coached select leagues knew about Taraflex Sports Flooring. Familiar with the product, she suggested it met both the needs of the multipurpose usage of the facility as well as being a quality flooring option for world-class athletic facilities around the world.

The interiors team members took a mini-tour of different size and use facilities in the region, which had similar floors installed. Vector Concepts of Irving, TX organized the visits to schools and other churches giving the members the opportunity to question facility managers and maintenance staff about cleaning procedures, costs, durability and usage in their facility. They saw how the flooring held up under heavy activity with permanent telescopic bleachers, high traffic and the creative ways it was installed.

“The flooring we selected eliminated the dilemma of addressing whether the church should create a gym or a multipurpose facility that can also be used as a gym,” says Richards. By using a material that meets the standards of major sporting events, Bent Tree has the potential to host tournaments, playoff games and many other programs that other facilities may not be able to simply because of the flooring.

Before the summer, the junior high and high school student ministries started meeting in the gym for their twice weekly activities and took full advantage of the large room using the stage located at one end for plays and concerts. Their year-end celebration drew close to 400 fans to hear a national recording artist perform and demonstrated the gym’s audio/video capabilities for concerts, sports and gaming events. “The flooring gives us the ability to move from a gym to a full fledged concert setup with minimum preparation or the worry about damage to our facility,” says Richards.

Shooting hoops with pastors

During the summer months the students visit the facility during the day to hang out and shoot hoops with the student pastors and interns. The maple design high performance floor features a red center court jump circle and keys surrounded by black basketball game lines, white game lines for the two volleyball courts and yellow and black sections for the four-square game area.

The outreach component of the gym’s planning is also showing early success. Currently, the facility is available as an open gym on Saturday mornings and people from the community who are non-members or not regular attendees are participating. Also, the gym is open to church members who are involved with sports leagues in the area and many such groups are coming in. Often the gym is the first introduction to Bent Tree for these visitors.

In planning for the future, durability was another key consideration. One of the churches visited possessed a lot of heavy equipment. With equipment being placed on the floor and moved across it, plus constant usage and heavy traffic, Richards saw the product was holding up at a high level.

Easy to maintain

Durability and simple maintenance stood as critical issues because of the long list of potential programs including dinners, birthday parties, youth retreats, lock-ins and as overflow space for worship services. Daily maintenance requires only damp mopping and an occasional automatic scrubbing. That streamlined and energy saving maintenance fits in perfectly with the gym’s soon-to-be full activity schedule. “Maintenance is a huge issue for us,” says Richards referring to the size of Bent Tree. “The flooring got rave reviews. Now we are getting really good feedback from our maintenance staff.”

The environmentally sustainable characteristics of the gym floor impressed the interiors team. The church intended to select a product that was not environmentally harmful or wasteful and would balance stewardship of financial resources and natural resources. The installed floor consists of up to 43 percent recycled material and is 100 percent recyclable at the end of its lifespan.

Bent Tree Bible Fellowship Church, under the leadership of Senior Pastor Pete Briscoe, broke ground on its current facility in 1996. The expansion of Bent Tree, supported not only the growth of its Carrollton campus, but 10 percent of the $30 million project went to fund various mission projects across the globe.

Robin Traum is a public relations consultant for Taraflex Sports Flooring by Gerflor, Atlanta, GA. [gerflortaraflex.com]


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