Beneath the Surface


With 800,000 square feet of space, as well as 72 acres of natural and artificial grass surfaces, there’s definitely a lot to think about when it comes to surfaces at Ball State University (BSU).

“We diligently research flooring systems and vendors that satisfy the performance needs of the various activities by the end users, and as a public institution we go to bid with appropriate specifications,” said Daniel Byrnes, the director of sports facilities and recreation services at BSU. They use a variety of vendors at the university, including Mondo, Johnsonite Rubber Flooring, Connor Sports, Ace Surfaces and Sprinturf.

When it comes to choosing what type of surface to install, there are always questions you should ask, said Daniel Heney, the executive director of Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association. He listed two specifically: Who will be using the floor? And what activities will be played on the floor? “It is best to talk to the sport floor system manufacturer to help determine the best subfloor design for your facility,” said Heney. “It all comes down to performance.”

Byrnes said in taking care of their surfaces they are very proactive. “Preventive care and immediate repair is the key to quality performance and a long life,” he said. In fact, he shared some specifics of proactive measures BSU takes with its surfaces:

  • Wood floors are refinished annually. 
  • High profile floors get refreshed with repainting every other year. 
  • All rubber floors are scrubbed daily with both riding and walk-behind scrubbers. Surfaces get re-striped every five years. 
  • Natural turf is mowed twice weekly. Seasonally they are striped weekly and are also treated seasonally with environmentally safe products. 
  • Artificial surfaces get swept weekly and deep cleaned annually. They are also tested annually for compaction and blade integrity.
  • Infields are maintained daily during seasonal play.
  • Tennis courts are resurfaced/re-striped every three years.

When it comes to the biggest challenges Heney sees recreation centers have in taking care of their surfaces, especially maple flooring, it comes down to one word: misinformation. He shared several misinformed areas to watch out for:

  • Don’t use tape for temporary markings on maple flooring as it can peel away layers of the finish.
  • Dirty wheels on carts and portable gym equipment can damage wood flooring.
  • Avoid using water to clean maple floors which can cause splintering, excessive shrinkage and expansion, etc.
  • Make sure to protect your floor from heavy loads.

All in all, your surfaces need proper and preventive care. Check in with the experts if you have questions on how to be proactively caring for your wood courts, rubber floors, turf fields and more.  

Heather Hartmann
Heather Hartmann is the editor for Campus Rec Magazine. She can be reached at

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