From Realtà Mapei International n° 63 - 7/13/2017

Girdwood Elementary School Alaska

Walk-on art brings the environment inside at Alaska Elementary School.

Location icon Girdwood

Girdwood School is located in Girdwood, Alaska, 36 miles southeast of Anchorage, which is a year-round resort town surrounded by the peaks of the Chugach Mountain Range and famous internationally for its 5-star ski resort, Alyeska.

The Anchorage architectural firm chosen to design both the expansion and the renovation to the original parts of the school (constructed in 1982) was McCool Carlson Green (MCG). MCG’s project called for levelling and smoothing all of the floors with a self-levelling concrete topping, which could be stained and polished to a high gloss – such as ULTRATOP PC. MCG looked to a local Girdwood artist, Sheila Wyne, who evoked the Girdwood outdoor living experience using ULTRATOP PC for her creative concepts.

Moose, ptarmigan and snowshoe tracks were created by local artists Jim Dault and Shala Dobson with aluminum. First, MAPECEM QUICKPATCH concrete patch was used to repair a minor defect in the floor. Then, PLANIBOND EBA bonding agent was applied to the entire floor to ensure a perfect bond of the ULTRATOP PC to the substrate/floor. The aluminum strips were epoxy-anchored in place on the concrete slab in the form of curves. CNC-cut tracks, as well as the bubble circles found in the sand flats, were hand-placed and epoxy-anchored to the slab by Wyne, Dault and Dobson.

PLANIBOND AE anchoring gel was used to anchor the aluminum strips and the other embeds to the PLANIBOND EBA and sand surface. After these aluminum pieces were laid out and PLANIBOND AE had dried, ULTRATOP PC has been poured in the hallways and the common areas/auditorium, flowing it just over the surface of the embedded aluminum pieces that created the various themes. ULTRATOP PC was then flowed around all of the embedded aluminum strips and design features.


After the ULTRATOP PC had cured for 24 hours, the grinding and polishing procedures were carried out. The ULTRATOP PC had to be cut down to the surface of the embedded aluminum strips, snowshoes, moose tracks, etc., in order to fully expose them within the floor.

Next, five different acetone-carried stains were applied per Wyne’s color scheme to evoke the natural striations and bubbles created in the sand flat by the daily tides.

The final steps involved the use of a polishing diamond, followed by two coats of sealer. The Girdwood School project is very special for many reasons. The floor art is totally unique and captures the essence of daily life and nature in rural Girdwood. The difficulty factor in turning the architects’ and artists’ concept into reality rested with the skill of the installer in polishing both concrete and aluminum – which are vastly different in hardness – and with blending stains and dyes to achieve the color nuances that were required to deliver the intended artistic impact. The self-levelling topping performed flawlessly to provide a level and uniform medium for dying and staining, as well as create a uniform shine.


Project data sheet

Yard elementary school
Location Girdwood, USA
Subcategory SCHOOL
Built in 1982
Opened in 1982
Application supply of cement based floorings
Start and finish date 2015
Application Type Cementitious & resin flooring systems
Client Anchorage School District
Contractor company Watterson Construction
Specialists involved Sheila Wyne
MAPEI Distributor Anchorage Sand & Gravel Co, Inc.
Credits Tom Lundgren
Project Manager Greg Hutchins – Performa, Inc.
MAPEI Coordination Tom Lundgren (Mapei Corp.)
Other MAPEI’s Ultratop® PC polishable concrete topping was used in a public arts project at an elementary school in Alaska. The public art had a practical side, as Ultratop PC formed a durable yet artistic floor for students to walk on.
Realtà Mapei Tags: #seamless #schools

Keep in touch

Subscribe to our newsletter to get Mapei news