Lake Nona High School: Quality Fence Screen Dresses Up Pre-Fab Bleachers and Unifies a Stadium Upgrade

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Budget constraints are a constant factor for every facility and athletic director. There is a constant conflict between the perfect update and renovation plan and the reality of cost.

At Lake Nona High School in Orange County, Florida, Athletic Director Aaron Crawford, CAA, found the perfect balance.

“When updating and expanding our stadium we chose to go with pre-fabricated aluminum bleachers because of budget considerations,” Crawford explained. “Building custom bleachers wasn’t a smart use of our funds. But the problem with that kind of configuration is that it creates an unsightly view. We knew we had to be creative to hide that view, secure the open area, and I was not willing to compromise the very best custom look for our field.”

To find the solution that would dress up his stadium and hide the unsightly views created by pre-fabricated bleachers, Crawford contacted the experts at Ball Fabrics, Inc. His initial request was to hide the 4-5’ rise, which exposed the bleacher understructure. Concurrent with that goal was the safety issue.

“We needed to secure the area beneath the bleachers,” Crawford said. “We wanted to prevent the kids from gaining access for their own safety. We also wanted to establish a boundary to keep equipment on the field and not underneath the bleachers.”

Crawford presented a list of aesthetic and security needs when he contacted Ball Fabrics. In addition to securing and hiding the bleacher understructure, he wanted attractive branding options throughout the facility. To complete the new visual aesthetics he also wanted to hide the necessary maintenance areas that can often be an eyesore.

“I’m a difficult guy to please,” he admitted. “I have high expectations. But everyone from Ball Fabrics more than met my expectations. Their customer service is phenomenal. Everyone answers their phone and their emails in a timely manner. I had a long list and they had answers for everything I needed.”

In the end, aesthetics and security were accomplished by hanging PrivaScreen around the base of the bleachers. Ball Fabrics’ offers a patent-pending mounting system that makes it easy to install fence screen on any bleacher configuration for a professional, attractive finish.

Crawford also chose PrivaScreen for all the field fencing. “I like having that visual boundary around the field. With fence screen up it is so much easier to manage events from the field, to get a quick body count of who is on the field, and who is beyond the fences.”

He used PrivaScreen like a cage around his equipment area, effectively hiding what had been an inconvenient but necessary eyesore. The extensive use of windscreen throughout the facility unified the visual aesthetics while accomplishing Crawford’s practical considerations.

Finally, he worked with the Ball Fabrics print professionals to design and print a 152’ fence mural on the back of the stadium, establishing effective branding for the updated facility at the point of first visual contact. The fence mural, printed in four panels on windscreen specifically designed for high quality outdoor graphics, announces the team mascot and motto in full color: This is Lion Country!

“It’s all about security and aesthetics,” Crawford said. “When I came on board I inherited an inferior windscreen product. Within the first year it was already ruined…faded, cracking, and coming off the fence. So I knew the importance of choosing a quality product that wouldn’t have to be replaced every year. It is smart budgeting to do it right the first time.”

“Working with Ball Fabrics, I ticked off all my wants and my needs,” he continued. “They provided the expertise that answered my questions, and a quality product that is built to last. I know I won’t have to replace that windscreen for years. They provided a custom product that gives my high school the look of a college. I couldn’t be more satisfied.”

Windscreen Fence Mural Delivers a Stunning Work of Art at Lyman High School’s Big New Stadium

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Anyone familiar with Lyman High School in Longwood, Florida, will know they think big and plan big. So, when it was time to build a brand new stadium, they pulled out all the stops. One of the stars at the new facility is the creative use of windscreen in multiple ways, successfully joining all the visual aesthetics and culminating in one stunning piece that less bold thinkers would never have attempted.

“We wanted something dramatic,” said Robert Drake, Lyman’s athletic field project director. “Our goal was, right at the entrance, to visually establish our new look with something that said visiting our facility will be extraordinary in every way. It took a lot of work, a lot of stops and starts. But Tony Mann, our Ball Fabrics sales rep, was with us every step of the way offering many helpful suggestions and what we ultimately achieved is even better than we ever imagined.”

Working with the professionals at Ball Fabrics, Inc., Drake and his team initially chose PrivacyPlus to cover the fencing around and beneath the bleachers. With a 95% opacity, PrivacyPlus successfully blocks unsightly areas, establishes a secure boundary, and visually joins various parts of the facility for a smooth, seamless, finished look.

The versatility of printed windscreen enabled the field project team to brand their logo and team slogans at every opportunity. Ball Fabrics customer service representatives helped select various windscreen products that work together beautifully but which, taken individually, perform different jobs. The Lyman project utilized the visual blockage of PrivacyPlus, the extraordinary ink-adherence of VCP for printing logos and slogans, and fence mural fabric for the top of the stadium…showcasing what can be done when working with an experienced company that understands how to maximize the particular strengths and qualities of each kind of windscreen.

But all of that was just warm up to the main event – a 12’ x 38’ fence mural depicting past and present Lyman athletes performing their specific event – stretched across the back of the bleachers. It is the first thing people see when they park and head toward the stadium. The challenges of designing and printing the extra-large mural were numerous, and some of them seemed overwhelming.

“Our Booster Club built that amazing front entrance,” Drake explained. “Once we saw what they had done we realized we wanted to finish it off with something fantastic. We had an idea what we wanted, but could never have accomplished it without all the hands-on, dedicated help and expertise from Ball Fabrics. In spite of all the challenges no one over there ever said it couldn’t be done.”

The mural started out as a much smaller project designed for inside the gym. Photos were taken of various school athletes and layout began. As it took shape the stadium was also coming together. So the project design team decided to take it outdoors, super-size it, and make a powerful branding statement.

At that point they knew what they wanted but weren’t sure it could actually be done. They approached Ball Fabrics, already working on the other fence murals and graphics, and showed them the plans.

“Our digital arts guy got with the Ball Fabric print specialists and they worked hard to get the colors right,” Drake said. “Our colors had to be spot on. We were very exacting. They did quite a few print runs before we got it right. We printed several small samples and hung them on the fence at the site. When the first printings didn’t quite match those guys were always willing to go back to the drawing board and try again.”

“Once every element had been figured out and finessed…the right colors, the final design, the backing, how to visually frame it for maximum effect…they had to figure out how to giant size it.”

The primary issue was the sheer size and graphic complexity. Fence mural fabric, and the giant machines that print on it, top out at 10’. So the mural design had to be split in half lengthwise, printed, then sewn together in a way that matched perfectly. This isn’t so difficult with a simple logo or large block letters where a slight mismatch would not be apparent.

But the mural is a finely detailed graphic. Even a quarter-inch discrepancy along the entire 38 foot length would be glaring. An unusual level of precision printing was necessary to print the two halves so they could be joined into one huge mural and match up perfectly.

“The entrance to our new stadium,” Drake summarized, “is something you would expect to see at any college or major athletic team. We couldn’t be more pleased with the way it has turned out. People are blown away when they see it and their number one question is, how can they get something like that for themselves.”

Privacy Plus Windscreen Solves Branding and Aesthetic Issues At A Major Sports Complex

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2018 was a big year for Austin Tindall Park in Osceola County, Florida. That’s when they completed a major renovation, including four new fields and a stadium, and changed the name to Austin Tindall Sports Complex.

“The renovation was an opportunity to brand our facility in a way that communicated what we had become,” explained Vanessa Ellis, assistant facility manager. “We wanted to keep the facility relevant and let people know we had become much more than just a park. We are a multi-function complex.”

The new stadium, with 1500 seating capacity that can be expanded to 3000, hosts a wide variety of events throughout the year drawing a greatly increased cross section of visitors. Unfortunately, some choices made at the time of the renovation did not satisfy the new branding requirements or fit the facility’s updated aesthetic.

One major issue facility management needed to address was the fact that all the new parking was behind the stadium. People parked there and then walked into the complex from the back of the stadium, so that view was the first point of contact for new visitors…not the most attractive view. But approaching the new facility from the back meant the first thing they saw was underneath the bleachers. In addition, there was nothing to identify, or brand, the new sports complex. All the signage was on the front.

“We realized the back of the stadium was the perfect place to do something creative. We wanted to find a high quality privacy screen and brand the facility with our new name,” Ellis said. “We wanted our visitors to know exactly where they were as they entered the complex and to experience the kind of visual aesthetic that reflected our renovations.”

In an effort to hide the underside of the bleachers, contractors had initially hung lightweight windscreen around the back of the stadium that didn’t provide the opacity necessary to block the view or present a quality finished appearance. Additionally, that particular windscreen did not hold up well. Within less than a year it no longer fit properly. The badly wrinkled and improperly hung windscreen accomplished exactly the opposite of the intended effect.

Ellis contacted Ball Fabrics, Inc., to find a solution that would meet both requirements: present a quality aesthetic look for the back of the bleachers that reflected what visitors would see when they actually entered the complex, and properly brand the stadium.

Experts at Ball Fabrics recommended Privacy Plus windscreen for the job: a knitted polyethylene with 95% opacity, or closed mesh, that completely blocks the view and presents an attractive front.

Larry Ball, vice president at Ball Fabrics, explained the reason for choosing a 95% rather than 100 % opacity. “When the purpose is to maximize the visual block you have to be careful not to use a screen so dense that it puts too much of a wind load on the fence. You want to block the view, not blow down the fence. This is why we chose Privacy Plus. It accomplishes the visual blockage but still allows some wind to pass through. Also, it provides a very attractive finished look.”

At Austin Tindall Sports Complex the solution for branding the back approach to the stadium was solved with a 43’ long by 4’ high fence mural. The mural is printed directly on windscreen specially designed for print durability, longevity, and clarity. It displays the new name as well as the Osceola County parks logo, and is mounted along the back of the press box at the top of the stadium so it can be seen by everyone approaching the facility from the parking lots.

“Now,” says Ellis, “as people approach the complex from the parking area they encounter an attractive view of the stadium, very finished and professional, and they know exactly where they are because of the mural with our new name. No one doubts we have done a great job with our renovation and our branding.”

A Windscreen Solution for Extremely Windy Locations

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Windscreens are not created equal because they are manufactured using various different raw materials, construction patterns, and finishes. For this reason, it is important to determine which product is best suited for each location.

At some locations this is much more important than others because choosing the wrong windscreen will result in costly maintenance and replacement issues. For facilities that experience strong weather conditions, the inappropriate windscreen can be a major maintenance problem. Some windscreens are simply not built to perform well in high wind areas. That’s why it is so important to work with knowledgeable professionals who can help you determine which product best suits your unique facility needs.

At Heathrow Country Club in central Florida, the frequent strong thunderstorms would blow through breaking ty wraps and ripping windscreen off the tennis court fences. Not only did this cause a massive maintenance problem, replacing ty wraps every day, but windscreen falling off the fence is not a good look for a beautiful facility with high end tennis courts.

“Mornings were pure havoc,” said Barry Myers, Director of Tennis at Heathrow. “People would be waiting to play and we were frantically putting windscreen back on the fence.” Heathrow contacted Ball Fabrics, Inc., manufacturers of high quality windscreen, netting, and athletic field products for over 35 years, to find a solution to the expensive and time consuming dilemma.

The answer: replace the windscreen on all 12 courts with ExtremeScreen™, which is designed to handle high winds without breaking loose from the fence. ExtremeScreen™, available only through Ball Fabrics, is the most long lasting and maintenance-free windscreen on the market, backed by a 7 year warranty. It is a great choice for tennis windscreen for many reasons, but especially for high wind areas.

The result: For the 12 months since the windscreen was replaced, maintenance has been reduced to almost nothing – no broken ty wraps, no flapping windscreen. “ExtremeScreen is a labor savor,” Myers concluded. “It handles high winds better than any windscreen I have ever seen. In 12 months we have not had one windscreen blow down. I come to the courts after a huge thunderstorm and my courts look great, people can get on them to play, and I don’t have to go rescue the windscreen.”

Field Netting Solves a Costly Special Events Maintenance Problem

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Ball Fabrics has built a reputation for creative solutions. Successfully solving the problem of wind blowing down temporary fence screens at a major sports facility demonstrates the importance of working with experienced professionals who really know their product. Boombah Sports Complex of Seminole County, a multi-million dollar baseball and softball sports complex, hosts 64 major special events annually. Many of those events require hundreds of yards of temporary fencing.

The problem? High winds often blew down the strategically placed temporary fencing right before or even during the event…a maintenance nightmare that gobbled up an incredible number of man hours and expense, as well as disrupting major events. “In 18 months we had 10 events where our temporary fencing blew down multiple times during the weekend tournaments,” explained Steve Daugherty, BOOMBAH park supervisor.

Seeking a solution, Daugherty’s research took him to Ball Fabrics, Inc., a Florida-based company that has been manufacturing windscreen and netting for over 35 years. The experienced customer service representatives at Ball Fabrics asked a lot of questions seeking a viable solution to this expensive maintenance issue.

Their answer: replace the temporary fence screen with 400 netting panels. “Just recently, on a Friday afternoon, we finished setting up for a Saturday tournament. That night a tremendous storm blew through,” Daugherty said. “In the past, our fencing would have been all over the fields. Because of the netting solution Ball Fabrics recommended and was able to provide, not one panel was out of place. The tournament kicked off right on time.”

This experience reveals the value of a custom manufacturer with knowledgeable, hands-on customer service. “Every facility has unique characteristics,” he summarized. “We have to be creative and find the kind of experts, like Ball Fabrics, who know how to work with us.”

Custom Printed Fence Screen Enhances Tennis Facility Re-Branding Campaign

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Ball Fabrics is founded on quality relationships built through excellent customer service. Solving problems and finding creative responses for our customer’s needs are front and center for everyone on our team, from the office staff to the fabrication departments to shipping and handling. Our goal is to offer an attention to detail and a personal touch unavailable anywhere else.

This story about re-branding reveals how tennis windscreens, in combination with our advanced printing capabilities, can make a huge difference when revitalizing an existing facility. The Mandy Stoll Tennis Center at Stetson University in Deland, FL, recently took advantage of new printing and branding technology to refurbish and enhance their existing varsity tennis facility. Working on a deadline, facility management wanted to unveil new logos as part of an updated branding campaign at their upcoming conference tournament.

Jake Gibson, Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities & Operations, called on Ball Fabrics, Inc. for the custom windscreen work that required precision measuring, printing, and high quality graphics work. Manufacturing superior windscreen and netting for over 35 years, Ball Fabrics also offers world class outdoor printing using the industry’s most advanced large scale printers and technology designed to increase the resilience and longevity of windscreen graphics. We take special delight in custom printed solutions for any kind of windscreen or fence screen.

The job required new windscreen to replace a previous installation that had been improperly measured leaving the courts with a sloppy, unfinished look and logos that were not correctly centered. When installing windscreen, proper measurement is one of the keys for a great looking end result. Screens that do not fit properly will never look right, no matter how much effort goes into installation. But great looks are not the only reason for proper measurement. When screens are properly measured and properly hung, they last longer and require less maintenance.

The new screens were carefully measured by Ball Fabrics’ experienced professionals to ensure logos ended up perfectly centered behind each court for symmetry and a professional finished look. They were printed using long lasting outdoor inks and then enhanced with Ball Fabrics’ ToughCoat™, a UV coating that adds an additional three year life expectancy to outdoor graphics.

The full size VCP windscreen was custom fabricated to exact measurements and the new logos were printed directly onto the windscreen. Then ToughCoat™ was applied to the printed windscreen for an additional layer of UV protection designed to double the longevity of outdoor inks. This process was developed by Ball Fabrics specifically for enhancing the life expectancy of outdoor graphics several years beyond what standard printers can offer.

“The screens look great,” reported Gibson. “And we had great feedback on them for the conference tournament. I really appreciate Ball Fabrics for getting them done on time.”