In the heart of West Palm Beach, FL, is the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Widely known as the spring training home of the 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros and NL East Champion Washington Nationals, the 160-acre complex was recently renovated using a range of porcelain tile from Crossville, Inc.

The 7,800-seat stadium facility, located just 15 minutes from the Palm Beach International Airport, features a traditional wrap-around concourse, ample parking, sprawling views of the surrounding areas, as well as uniquely developed fan areas to enhance the overall training experience. During the design phase of the project, a lot of attention was paid to the types of tile that were selected in order to ensure easy maintenance and durability over the lifespan of the facility.

Ultimately, the architectural team from HKS Architects in Houston, TX, settled on various tile collections from Crossville, Inc., which were used throughout the private suites, locker rooms, spa area and bathrooms. Around 14,000 square feet of porcelain tile from the Wood Impressions collection was used on the floors of the private box suites, public dining areas and bathrooms. The 6- x 36-inch tiles were used in the color “Gunstock,” which mimic the look of Mahogany. The collection has since been discontinued and replaced with the Nest collection.

The company’s 1- x 3-meter Laminam thin gauged porcelain tile panels, which clad walls in the suites and locker rooms, were utilized for their versatility and lightweight nature. The 3- and 5.6-mm-thick panels are suitable for both interior and exterior environments, and can even be installed over existing tile. According to Lou Bautko of D&B Tile in Sunrise, FL, which supplied all of the tile for the project, 15,000 square feet of these panels were implemented in three different colors. Around 3,000 square feet of the Kauri collection in the color “Bianco” was employed. Inspired by Birch wood, the design incorporates the distinct, crackling veins of natural wood. An additional 12,000 square feet of the Urban Influence collection was used in two contrasting colors, “Neve” and “Ossidiana Vena Chiara.” Approximately 8,000 square feet of Neve, a light beige design, and 4,000 square feet of Ossidiana Vena Chiara, a grayish marble-look, were chosen.

In order to select colors that would work well together, Bautko worked with Crossville regional manager, Robert Sutnick, who also serves as the company’s architectural and design representative.

A multifaceted installation

When it came to the installation of the tile throughout the complex, the project was divided into three sections, according to Sam Beck of Jack Walsh Carpets & Rugs, Inc. in West Palm Beach, FL. “There were four general contractors involved, having different locations of responsibilities — the main Stadium, National’s areas and Astro’s areas,” the project manager explained. “The main stadium scope are locations available for umpires, Major League Baseball events/teams and public use. The National’s side has their offices for management, hydro therapy, team showers and restrooms, private coach’s showers and restrooms, public bathrooms, cafeteria, lobby, and team dining and meeting rooms. The Astro’s side has similar amenities.”

Beck and his team worked on each area separately from October 2016 to February 2017, where they utilized products exclusively from Mapei in Deerfield Beach, FL. “Mapei had special mortars used for the installation of the large-format Laminam panels manufactured by Crossville,” said Beck. “The same setting materials were used when our mechanics received their Laminam certification. Training for the certificate was provided at Mapei’s facility in Pompano Beach, FL. Along with training, two sets of special tools were purchased to handle, convey and cut the Laminam porcelain panels. A large pallet jack was also purchased for transporting the long crates.”

The team utilized Mapei’s Kerapoxy CQ, Ultralite S2 thin-tile mortar, Ultracolor Plus premium rapid-setting sanded grout and Ultraflex 3 premium tile mortar. For all three sections of the stadium, the installation team used 29 2-gallon buckets of Kerapoxy CQ, 673 25-lb. bags of Ultralite S2, 65 25-lb. bags of Ultracolor Plus and 711 25-lb. bags of Ultraflex 3.

Although the installation was completed relatively quickly without complications, the weather presented some challenges at the beginning of the project. “The terrain around this large campus was made up of sandy soils,” said Beck. “Maneuvering around the job was nearly impossible, if you did not have vehicles with four-wheel drive.

“Inclement weather also made the job difficult,” he added. “Work through the summer was slowed by heavy rains and Hurricane Matthew. The heavy rains turned the site into a swamp-like morass. On a few other occasions, work was brought to a complete stop because of storms.”

Despite the unforeseen circumstances, the Ballpark was completed a little more than a year ago and has received rave reviews from visitors and players alike.

Ballpark of the Palm Beaches

West Palm Beach, CA

Architect: HKS, Inc., Richmond, VA
General Contractors: Hunt Construction Group, Orlando, FL; Straticon Construction, Stuart, FL; Messam Construction, Miramar, FL; Cooper Construction Management, West Palm Beach, FL
Tile Supplier: D&B Tile, Sunrise, FL (Laminam panels and Wood Impressions collection from Crossville, Inc.)
Tile Installer: Jack Walsh Carpets & Rugs, Inc., West Palm Beach, FL
Installation Products: Mapei, Deerfield Beach, FL (Ultraflex 3, Ultralite S2, Ultracolor Plus, Kerapoxy CQ)