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Onondaga Community College, Syracuse, NY

The old saying “God is in the details” plays heavily in interior design—and that extends to the all-important though often less high profile spaces of buildings: the bathrooms. Aged bathrooms certainly have the ability to lower the overall design quotient of buildings, while updated facilities with attractive style and attention to the details can greatly support and enhance the overall appeal and experience for people within commercial spaces.

These factors were significant to the renovation of two bathrooms at Onondaga Community College’s Gordon Student Center in Syracuse, New York. These restrooms were outdated in all aspects, including the tile.  Walls had long been bedecked in 4”x6” tiles in a 1970s-esque olive tone, while floors were covered in 2”x2” floor mosaics in stale shades of peach and grey. The style of the spaces belied the community college’s focus on providing top educational programs for its modern student body.

Specifiers for the project aimed to bring the restrooms not just into style for today but also to create spaces that would look great over time. To that end, they selected Laminam by Crossville collections to transform floors and walls. Large squares of Fokos Roccia in Laminam 5.6 were installed on floors to provide an earthy, fashionable foundation, while I Naturali Laminam 3+ in Ossidiana Vena Chiara adds a classic elegance to the walls. The design team opted to accent the spaces with thick strips of I Naturali Laminam by Crossville Ossidiana Vena Grigia for a contemporary, refined appearance.

On the technical side, Laminam was selected for its uniquely thin nature that allowed the porcelain tile panels to be installed directly atop the tile in place. This eliminated the need for costly and time-consuming demolition, while also ensuring the spaces would maintain American with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards for clearance.

Michelle LePine, designer with Bivens & Associates Architects, explains, “With the minimal thickness of the product, we were able to keep ADA clearances without altering the layout of the space. This also was helpful when reinstalling the plumbing fixtures as minimal adjustments were needed and the plumbing rough ins did not require major alterations prior to installing new fixtures in the existing locations.”

Early on, according to LePine, the contractor expressed concerns about “installing the ceiling wall angle over the [Laminam] in fear that they were going to crack the tile when fastening [the] wall angle through it.” But she reports that the contractor’s fears never materialized and, in fact, the installation went off without a hitch. “We pilot drilled through the tile to avoid that possibility and had no problems.”

LePine shared that, due to existing conditions, the contractor had to build up/fill bullnose corners of the existing tile in order to provide continuous support behind the new porcelain tile panels. Ultimately, the installation process was smooth for all parties involved, and LePine concludes that there were no major issues to contend with.

In addition to offering ease of installation, Laminam’s sleek, modern look solved the Gordon Student Center bathrooms’ aesthetic challenge. The Laminam products offers sophisticated and neutral patterns that were easily combined to create a cohesive, modern look.

In specifying Laminam, the renovation team found the installation and aesthetic solutions it needed to give new life and style to the student center restrooms and bring all the details together with beautiful results.

Tile Distributor: Vestal Tile
Interior Architect: Bivens & Associates Architects
General Contractor: S.J. Thomas Co.
Tile Contractor: Syracuse Mosaic & Terrazzo Company