Worshippers at a Nearly Century-Old Church Rebuild using Armstrong Commercial Tile
Faith can withstand many tests, but the beachfront buildings in which the members of the First Baptist Church of Long Beach,
Miss. worshiped could not withstand a direct hit from one of the costliest and deadliest natural disasters in the history
of the United States, Hurricane Katrina. First Baptist had been located in downtown Long Beach since 1909. Through the years,
educational buildings, an office complex, a preschool and a sanctuary were constructed to meet the needs of the membership
before the hurricane completely destroyed all five of the church’s facilities in 2005. Post-disaster, church members voted
to move to a new site further inland. When it came time to choose the interior finishes, the building committee made it very
clear they wanted the materials to be safe and durable and the colors to be vibrant and cheerful. “Armstrong Standard EXCELON Imperial Texture VCT and Imperial Texture Rave® were excellent flooring solutions because the tiles are economical, easy to maintain, and the color selections made it possible
for us to design unique, playful floor patterns the building owners love,” says Jane Brakefield, Senior Interior Designer
for CTSM Architects Inc., Birmingham, Ala.
Rebuilding Faith and Facilities
The master plan for rebuilding the church’s facilities took the membership’s current and future needs into account. The building
committee’s materials wish list touched on many bases. For aesthetics, they insisted on a cheerful and playful color palette
for creating an inviting atmosphere in an indoor environment. To meet budget, materials must be cost effective. For performance,
everything needed to be durable and safe, with easy maintenance characteristics.
CTSM Architects, Inc. was chosen to design the new complex because the firm had already designed 150 buildings for 70 churches
throughout the deep south. History and a high confidence factor aside, this design project had unique challenges. “We needed to create a fun and exciting interior environment that was distinctive in design using only cost effective interior
finishes. VCT immediately came to mind, and we specified Armstrong because of the color palette, especially the vibrant Rave
colors,” says Brakefield.
The new complex includes multi-functional spaces for worship, sports and recreation, a fellowship hall, a gathering/pre-function
space with a cafe and a commercial kitchen. The members place strong emphasis on education, so the new, state-of-the-art daycare
center, preschool and children’s education building includes classrooms, an indoor playroom that doubles as a children’s theater,
and support and resource rooms. All the new buildings are fully accessible and double as storm shelters for the entire community.
Playful, Wayfinding Design
The design team created patterns on the preschool floor that are age-appropriate in both visual and functional ways. “The
main corridor includes colorful, random-sized circles and accent colors at classroom entrances to create a playful environment
suitable for preschool age children and we used accent colors to create wayfinders into the classroom. The same accent colors
are introduced in each of the floor patterns inside the classrooms, but in lieu of custom-cut circles, we used full-size tiles
to create a very cost-effective pattern,” explains Brakefield.
For the older children’s spaces, the building committee requested bright colors but less intense than those used in the preschool
areas. Here, designers created a floor pattern distinguished by colorful geometric shapes that have a contemporary twist.
“It’s a bit more ‘grown up’ than the preschool areas yet still fun and playful,” says Brakefield.
Three color-coordinated, mix-and-match Standard EXCELON Imperial Texture VCT products—Classic, Imperial Texture and Rave®—
in ten colors were employed to create the kid-friendly floor patterns. The whimsical colors are inspired by the “go to” favorites in any kid’s crayon box: Standard EXCELON Imperial Texture Classic 51933 blue cloud; Standard EXCELON Imperial Texture VCT 51880 maraschino, 51818
violet bloom, 51866 little green apple, 51813 pumpkin orange, and 51812 lemon yellow; Standard EXCELON Imperial Texture Rave
57511 grabbin’ green, 57517 bodacious blue, 57516 screamin’ pumpkin, and 57509 lemon lick.
It Takes a Partnership
One of the reasons why this large flooring project—26,000 square feet of VCT, plus other flooring materials — is a success
is because everybody on the team fully cooperated with each other. Brakefield sent schematic designs of her floor patterns
to the contractor, Edward Covington of Covington Flooring, Birmingham, Ala. Covington confirmed the project required a full
truck load of VCT, which gave CTSM the freedom to use ten different colors in the overall design and still be cost-effective.
Brakefield also conferred with Covington before presenting her ideas to the building committee to confirm the contractor could
install the various sized circles within budget. “Once Covington gave us the ‘thumbs up,’ we were able to finish our concepts
and get the building committee’s approval. The partnership between the designer, the manufacturer, the distributor, the installer
and the client contributed to a finished result we can all be proud of,” says Brakefield. Covington echoes Brakefield’s thoughts,
commenting, “Armstrong was the interior designer’s choice, but Armstrong’s quality makes our job easier and based on our relationship
with the manufacturer and the local distributor, Armstrong is our first choice for resilient flooring installations.”
The Brookwood Baptist Church project was completed in the summer of 2009; the interior portions fast tracked for completion
prior to the beginning of the school year. “The Director of the preschool program, Diane Duke, said that many of the parents
cried with joy when they first saw the renovated facility. The children love it too,” says Timothy. The children are now learning
in a fun, safe environment, continuing the church’s mission to grow in knowledge as well as faith.
150 Years of Satisfied Customers
Brakefield’s and Covington’s opinion of Armstrong is not unique. Armstrong has been manufacturing trusted flooring solutions
for 150 years. Standard EXCELON VCT was one of the company’s first commercial floor products and the venerable tile is still
the flooring industry leader for quality and value. The Standard EXCELON VCT family includes four mix-and-match, color-coordinated
product lines, including: Imperial Texture Classics, with tone-on-tone visuals in neutral colors; Imperial Texture, with the
broadest selection of colors available that coordinate with the full portfolio of Armstrong floors; Imperial Texture Rave®,
featuring bold, inspiring colors with eye-popping intensity; and Standard Excelon MultiColor VCT, each tile featuring four
base and three accent colors that coordinate with Imperial Texture.
Long Beach First Baptist Church
Long Beach, Mississippi
|DESIGNER / ARCHITECT:
CTSM Architects, Inc.
Standard EXCELON: Imperical Texture, Imperial Texture Rave