The Ford Alumni Center at the University of Oregon was built to be more than just a place for alumni to gather and socialize before and after basketball games. Thanks to the building’s interior design, the center acts as the university’s “front door.”

Visitors, whether they are returning alumni or potential students with parents, enter into an airy, four-story atrium to find it alive with interactive touchscreen panels that present the university in various aspects, from its history to its current and future identity. In addition to the 165 employees that work inside the building, more than 30,000 visitors have taken tours, while another 75,000 alumni and supporters have attended various events.

Opened in June 2011, the Ford Alumni Center was a LEED Gold project, due, in part, to the 25,000 square feet of polished concrete floors in the building’s public spaces and hallways.

The floor specification was generated after reviewing existing polished concrete floors installed at the university over the previous 5 years. As a result, the concrete placement process was specified to reduce cracking to a minimum. Upper floors had post-tensioned slabs, which used high-strength steel tendons to put the slab into compression. This reduced flexing and bending that occurs to slabs poured on more typical pan decks and eliminated cracking.

A laser screed was used for the ground floor to reduce undulations that the polishing would reveal. The slabs were protected after placement with plywood on top of paper. This allowed the polishing process to start on an undamaged surface. After reviewing several mock-ups, polishing was specified for minimal grinding and a 1500-grit final polish. This process enhanced the tightly consolidated surface created by the placement crew.

Workers applied a densifier during polishing. The low viscosity, sodium-free chemistry of Lythic Solutions Densifier allowed for easy penetration of the consolidated surface to add abrasion resistance and durability of the polished surface.

The first floor received the manufacturer’s SPD Protector to prevent damage from acids, oils, and other contamination that had damaged other polished concrete floors on campus. Building management committed to floor maintenance with Lythic Cleaner; the staff does not have to perform any other maintenance procedures.

Submitted by Lythic Solutions. For more information, visit