La Rabida Children’s Hospital

Learning to live with a chronic illness or disability is a difficult road for anyone to travel, especially a child. For more than 100 years, La Rabida Children’s Hospital, a private non-profit facility in Chicago, has been providing hope, encouragement and support for children and their families to live with and rise above lifelong medical conditions.

When La Rabida commissioned Barrier Corp., a flooring contractor in Morton Grove, IL, for an exterior decorative motif at their facility entrance, Scott Schemmel, project manager for Barrier Corp., turned to Valspar.

“The owner wanted to match the colors their architect, VOA Associates, had already incorporated into the hospital’s new addition,” explained Schemmel. “Realizing the colors could not be matched using integral concrete or terrazzo, we proposed a urethane system using Valspar colors.”

Brenda Wolf, vice president of Planning & External Affairs for La Rabida, elaborates, “Our architects came up with a design but couldn’t come up with a suitable product. Berglund brought in Barrier Corp., who identified the product that would work.”

Valspar’s color additive technology, available for epoxies and urethanes, captured the color La Rabida envisioned. But that was only part of the challenge, said Jeff Fleming, sales representative for Valspar Flooring. “The hospital’s planners also wanted their multi-colored compass design to withstand Chicago’s lakeside exposure as well as significant foot traffic. Thermal expansion, UV stability, slip resistance, durability and color selection were all important factors.”

Knowing that Valspar products were available to meet each unique requirement of the job, Barrier Corp. submitted a system proposal and sample finishes to the hospital, which were granted approval, allowing the design to start taking shape.

The circular setting for the compass had been pre-cast into the existing sidewalk slab. Electric heating coils were set in place before new concrete was poured to level the routed areas, leaving approximately 3/8” depth in which the “inlayed” coating system would be installed. The pattern was then outlined in zinc terrazzo strips.

To endure Chicago’s blustery winters as well as its radiating summer days, Barrier installed Flowfresh RT, a highly durable, polyurethane concrete surfacer that offers the thermal movement needed for this environment. Valspar PR-7 Flex Prime, a low-viscosity epoxy primer was applied over the RT, providing a tough, flexible base film for the subsequent system coats. Barrier Corp then applied a receiving coat of UV-enhanced, pigmented EC-15 epoxy from Valspar, which was immediately followed by a broadcast of aluminum oxide to supply additional slip resistance.

To complete the system, two coats, one pigmented and one clear, of Ultrathane, chosen for its superior UV stability and abrasion resistance, finished the inlay with a glossy, colorfast and extremely durable surface.

The vibrant design provides a cheerful entrance for hospital patients, visitors and employees, mirroring the hope and direction offered by La Rabida.

For flooring product information, visit or call 800/637.7793.