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Paul Smith's Brings Old Gym to New Standard with New Wall Padding

Athletic director/coach finds peace of mind with added safety feature



By Brett Hart

Dec. 19, 2017 -- When Paul Smith's College Athletic Director and multi-sport coach Jim Tucker began looking for new wall pads to replace their 42-year old pads in the school's Buxton Gymnasium in Paul Smiths, New York, he didn't have to look long before coming across Greatmats in his web search. The fast answer scenario also applied when he inquired about Greatmats wall padding from the company, noting that he received very quick responses to all of his questions, making the decision easy to replace the well-used pads that had long passed their best-if-used-by date.

''Those mats would have been originally built when the new gymnasium was built in 1974,'' Tucker said. ''The mats that had been on the walls in the wrestling room got moved to the Buxton Gymnasium (in 1996). Those end mats that have been on the wall since '96 were already 22 years old when they were moved. Fast forward another 20 years, and I think we got full life expectancy out of those.''

While the Bobcat that was painted on the pads when Tucker was 14 still looked nice, Tucker said, ''If you ever collided into that mat, you might as well have collided into the pine boards behind it. It might have felt better to run into the pine boards.''

On the other end of the gym were pads that had gone up in 2010 as part of a remodeling project that included adding an indoor rock climbing gym in place of an old stage.

Buxton Gymnasium is the older of the two gyms at the 750-student private college which is home to nearly 30 athletic teams in the US Collegiate Athletic Association.

''Our top sports are not recognized by the NCAA, but they do exist, and we do extremely well at them,'' Tucker said.

Often times the gymnasium is used for lacrosse practices, and the lacrosse balls being fired against the walls had caused significant damage to the previous sheet rock and pine board walls. With the gymnasium walls being in rough shape, and Paul Smith's College, wishing to improve conditions for the hosting of major high school or regional basketball games, decided improvements were a necessity.

Tucker said he did not want anyone feeling like they were in a secondary gymnasium at these major events, and so the old gym got the new padding as part of the remodel and they went up very fast, according to Tucker.

''The wall padding in the older gym that uses Greatmats works far better than the padding in the new gym,'' Tucker said. He noted that the end walls in the gym are relatively close to the baseline at both ends. ''Since the installation of these new wall pads, I have greater peace of mind knowing that the pads are there.''

From a marketing standpoint, he also felt it was important to have different school logos on the mats at either end and Greatmats was able to accommodate his request.

''Anybody that's taking photographs will see the Paul Smith's logo,'' he said. ''I expect that (gym) will get used more in the next couple years.''
Jim Tucker
Paul Smith's College
Paul Smiths NY 12970
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