As soon as the weather clears, this all will be planted!

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

When The Arc of Burlington County was notified late last May that as of the end of June, our 30 year old infant and toddler program in Hainesport, NJ, for children with disabilities would no longer be funded and have to close, we scrambled to relocate the 28 children enrolled.  Instead of closing, though, we determined to remake the program.

Since we owned the building, we decided to convert the site to accommodate an adult vocational day program already meeting in a rented location.

No more children’s murals

The amount of work and money it would take to go from a child-focused building into one suitable for adults, most with physical disabilities, was daunting. Gone would be the colorful fairy tale murals painted on every wall for so many years.  Gone, the small bathrooms and tiny tables and chairs. Gone, the playground full of swings and sliding boards.  In their place, adult-size everything.

A close-up of the floor pattern

And then there was the floor.  Years of trampling and hard play from hundreds of children had taken its toll and left a crumbling, stained mess. We knew the expense to replace it — all 3,870 square feet of it — would be even more daunting given the needs our adult program would have. That’s when we learned about The Stonhard Group.

The Stonhard Group, an international flooring specialist, located locally in Maple Shade, is known for

Our bright new entryway

their seamless, high-performance, poured-in-place floors that are highly durable and formulated to stand up to the wheelchairs, crutches, walkers and general hard knocks they’d be getting from the folks in our program.  We also needed it to be slip resistant and stand up to inevitable stains. And it had to be attractive and welcoming!

Once Stonhard engineers assessed our needs, we got an interesting proposal: Stonhard was attempting to market a new technique they were perfecting for a floor that would do everything we needed, but they were looking to complete one in an actual setting. So, The Arc partnered with Stonhard to allow them to use our building as a test case and in return they would install a long-term, durable flooring system that would stand up to the wear and tear we experience on a daily basis.

And that’s even MORE space.

While watching the crew work, The Arc learned that a floor isn’t just a floor. It’s a complex work of art, at least as far as Stonhard is concerned. It was high tech and high quality, it was sealed and resealed to guarantee a long life, and the pattern, Stontec, matched our newly-painted, adult-themed walls and woodwork.

Now that everyone has moved in, the furniture is in place, and the daily wear and tear begun in earnest, we know what a debt of gratitude The Arc owes the Stonhard Group.  We could not have done all those renovations without their generosity. We have no doubts that in years to come, our new floor will be just as sturdy as the day it was completed. And just as pretty.

Chair exercise class

We even bought our own mini-Zamboni-like cleaner to help us keep the floor sparkling and new-looking. Now we’re just waiting till the weather stop surprising us and we can get around to planting some flowers, shrubs and trees. Then the outside will be just a attractive as the inside.

Our little blue cleaning machine!

The new accessible shower.

Staff and techs from Stonhard Group and Arc staff
More chair exercising