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New Recycled Floor Acts as Teaching Tool at Science Centre

Kal’s RePlay Fund helps Okanagan Science Centre install a new floor, made from durable recycled rubber tires, in its main gallery.

Kids already love to bounce around and play while learning about nature, outer space and more at the Okanagan Science Centre (OSC), and now they have even more reason to do so with the installation of a new recycled rubber floor at the Vernon landmark.

The new floor, located in the science centre’s main gallery, is made of nearly 100 recycled tires and was funded and supplied by Kal Tire through its newly launched Kal’s RePlay Fund.

The competitive grant helps Canadian charities and non-profit organizations with the cost and supply of recycled rubber products such as playground surfaces, flooring, and roofing. A sustainable product, recycled rubber flooring is known for its long-term durability and is perfect for high-traffic areas.

Fixing Up a Tired Floor with Tires

Open to the public and used by school groups, community organizations and also serving as a venue for children’s camps and birthday parties, the OSC hosts educational exhibitions and offers hands-on activities for families and children.

The new rubber floor has replaced the aging carpet in the centre’s main gallery and now provides the perfect base for the science centre’s permanent collection of exhibits, including the Symphony of Science, Fast Track (an interactive marble run), Animal Long Jump, What’s My Wavelength, Traversing Wall, and the Flight Simulator.

The main gallery is also the site of travelling exhibitions and will host the upcoming show Biomimicry in early 2020.

“The look of the room is vastly improved,” says OSC executive director Jim Swingle. “We love the fact it is so much easier to clean and maintain than our previous flooring. We love the fact it is durable when we move/install heavy exhibits on top of it. It creates a very safe environment for children to play on, as it has good traction.”

A Sustainable Solution

Designed to educate the public on tire recycling, the new floor also serves as a teaching tool to the OSC’s many young visitors about using eco-friendly and less wasteful resources.

“We were looking for flooring that was durable for moving heavy exhibits, lots of foot traffic each day and easy to maintain. When Kal Tire suggested the recycled tire flooring and added sustainability, it was the perfect solution. We strive to be sustainable, so having a sustainable solution to our flooring problem was a big plus,” says Swingle.

Kal Tire Goes Above and Beyond

Kal Tire team members not only helped move exhibits during the floor’s installation, they co-hosted the unveiling of the new recycled rubber floor at a celebration on International Science Centre and Science Museum Day Nov. 10, 2018.

The OSC made it a free day so that everyone in the community could attend the celebration to see the new flooring. Kal Tire also ran a by-donation barbecue in the OSC parking lot at the event, with all profits donated to the science centre to fund family memberships for local families in need.

“Kal Tire is a wonderful company to work with. They are deeply supportive of the community. They really look to partner with local non-profits and create solutions that benefit everyone. Both the flooring and the experience of working with Kal Tire have been fantastic,” says Swingle.

Kal’s RePlay Fund has also been used to fund a new roof on a decagonal horse barn at Caravan Farm Theatre as well as six playground surfaces made of recycled tires.