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Metrolina Regional Scholar's Academy

Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Metrolina Regional Scholar's Academy opened its doors in September 2010 as a charter school for highly gifted children. Previously a call center, the vacant building was purchased by the Academy for its central location. In this new location, they desired a sustainable story, easy maintenance and creative coloring to increase the organization of the school's layout. The design team at Little turned to Johnsonite for solutions.

"There was a color/design intent that had many shades in order to color coordinate the grades in the long corridors," said Carrie L. Estock, of Little. "With Johnsonite, I was able to maintain the bright colors. The pattern on the Circulinity rubber floor tiles was very unusual and helped break up a large space, giving it more of a warm, carpeted look."

Estock chose all flooring products that simultaneously varied in texture, yet created a cohesive aesthetic and color palette throughout the building. The design integrated Johnsonite's Mesto, Hammered and Circulinity rubber tiles as well as stair treads into one seemingly continuous floor design.

The result is a bright, coordinated facility with an overall inclusive feeling. "Everyone is happy to be in this new building," said Marie E. Peine, Ph.D., the Academy's Director. "Areas are done in different color groups and/or floor types – the common area, the gym, the art room - but it all fits together."

In a facility that houses about 350 staff and students annually, with a limited yearly budget, maintenance costs were also a key concern in the flooring choices.

"We chose this flooring because we are trying to support a strong environmental ethic for our school community. The idea of no stripping with chemicals, waxing, or needing to use other unpleasant cleaning products was a major determining factor in our selection of the rubber flooring. The flooring makes the building look and sound so much brighter," she said.

Compared to the last school facility and to the condition of the building before the renovation, Peine says that the improvement has been immense. "It's almost as if they built it just for us," she said, "but it was much more energy and budget efficient to start with this existing canvas."

Other design highlights include the use of space, as the Main Dining area connecting to the Media Lab, and the Stage that can be transformed to meet many of the school's assembly needs. To achieve the entire sustainable and welcoming function, the lighting was changed out to use more efficient fixtures and several windows were added to bring more daylight into the space. In addition to using colored flooring tiles to identify spaces, the designers also made a couple of informal spots in the building with tiles to represent chess/checkerboards, and other color combinations.

"It's so hard to describe how it looks with words," adds Peine. "The level of creativity we were able to achieve is such an asset to the environment and the colors really work to make the space come alive."

Project Facts

Country: USA

City: Charlotte, North Carolina

Type of Project: Building Renovation – Call Center to School

Installation Period: 2010

Architect: Little

Service Provider: Simpson's Floor Fashions

General Contractor: Shelco

Total Flooring Surface Installed: 38,743 Square Feet

Products Installed: Circulinity Tiles, Hammered Rubber Tiles, Prima Custom Tiles, Traditional Wall Base, Mesto Planks, Training, Stair Treads