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Franklin College chooses Polyflor LVT, Awarding top marks for quality and design

As part of its modern upgrade, the internal design team of the favoured Franklin Sixth Form College, Grimsby in Lincolnshire opted to install luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring from the Expona Commercial range within the refurbished dining area of its bustling campus. Impressed with the result, it’s said to have awarded top marks to Polyflor.

Founded in 1990, Franklin Sixth Form College holds immense pride in its established reputation. Specialising in 16-19 education, it offers the most expansive range of courses available locally, including BTECs, CTECs, T Levels and A Levels.

Each year, Franklin is proud to support about 2,000 students, equipping them with essential life-skills. Additionally, its thriving adult education provision – completed on campus and through distance learning – supports mature learners to upskill in support of their employability.

Since opening, the college has become embedded within the local community. In summary of their assessment, Ofsted inspectors recognised this fact, adding that the college had created ‘an environment in which young people thrive’.

The design team consisted of established managers from different departments on campus, including Matthew Donson, premises manager. As part of continued investment in its facilities, it collaboratively managed a complete renovation of the dining area, offering a university-style space for students.

They received additional consultation from Carl Richards of Your Choice Flooring, working in partnership with Steven Horton of SJH Flooring. Together, this team oversaw floor preparation and installation work.

Primarily, the design team required a student-friendly, multi-functional dining area that was appealing to staff and attractive to prospective students during campus visits. It needed to be a vibrant and relaxing space with an adult atmosphere, allowing students to unwind or complete independent studies with their classmates.

The design team agreed the service hatches were outdated and that the general décor required considerable modernisation.

Subsequently, the dining area received new equipment, a neutral paint scheme on the walls, brightly coloured seating, and eye-catching neon signs, all of which lifted the space, achieving their renovation goals. Also, the abundant natural light obtained from all sides, including the sizeable glass ceiling, illuminated the results.

With careful project planning, the design team oversaw the completion of all preparation and installation works within one month, ending in late August 2023, ahead of students returning to campus in September.

Franklin had previously installed Polyflor products successfully elsewhere on campus, meaning the design team was already aware of its ‘aesthetic and performance-related qualities’.
The chosen flooring requirements were simple on the surface yet vital in the long term. It needed to offer:
1 Attractive high-design options
2 Durability to withstand daily student footfall
3 Large-sized tiles for maximum impact and simple installation
4 Minimal maintenance
5 Competitive prices.
Following consultation with Richards, the design team specified the following pair of complementary shades for the refurbishment:

  • Expona Commercial – Vineyard Oak Prisma (4118) – 350sq m
  • Expona Commercial – Vineyard Oak (4136) – 350sq m

    It chose the former shade for each seating area, while the latter formed dividing walkways.
    The dining area sat in a comparatively modern extension of the original building where the existing subfloor had become damaged by unaddressed historic water leaks in its glass ceiling.

    These subfloor issues required the flooring fitters to complete significant preparation work with help from a specialist company that mechanically removed the existing floor surfaces.

    After the successful completion of all subfloor preparations, the installation of Expona Commercial tiles and planks began. Comparatively, this task was reportedly straightforward and efficient, regaining some time previously lost owing to previous challenges.

    ‘The tiles were great to work with and easy to install,’ confirmed Richards. ‘Expona Commercial is an excellent product, and we’ve since recommended its use on other projects.

    ‘It was beneficial having the option to blend complementary tiles and planks from the same range within the dining area.

    ‘The specification of two matching oak shades in different sizes within the same space allowed us to give each seating area its own identity whilst subtly zoning them from the walkways running in between. Such design versatility from commercial flooring was a welcome additional benefit from Polyflor.’

    The revitalised dining area at Franklin Sixth Form College is now equal to the high-quality teaching and leisure facilities elsewhere on campus. It boasts two modern refectories for the benefit of its students: The Buzz offers various food options, including weekly Chef Specials, while neighbouring Frankie’s serves cakes, hot snacks, and beverages.

    Both refectories offer a range of seating styles to accommodate differing student needs. The multifunctional dining area also doubles as an independent learning space throughout the day.
    Furthermore, the dining area now displays high-quality, design-led flooring that will look great for many years.

    ‘Polyflor felt like the natural choice for flooring in this busy dining area as we had previously been impressed with its quality, design and durability,’ commented Donson. ‘Our decision has proven to be the right one. We are tremendously happy with the results of this renovation, and the use of Expona Commercial has contributed towards its success.’
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