Stonehill College engaged Sasaki to renovate and expand their current Sally Blair Ames Sports Complex to accommodate much-needed recreational and athletic space. Opened in 1988 and designed to serve 1,930 students, the Ames Sports Complex now serves more than 2,500 students. In addition, student engagement in recreation, wellness programs, and club and intramural sports has skyrocketed since the late 1980s, resulting in a significant need to enhance and expand the facility. The design team began with a comprehensive program analysis, visioning exercise and precinct plan to ensure this major capital project met not only the College's immediate functional needs but also exceeded their big-picture aspirations for recreation and athletics on campus. Named in honor of the College's former president, the new 50,000-square-foot Rev. Mark T. Cregan, C.S.C. Athletic and Fitness Center houses weight and fitness rooms for students, community members and varsity student-athletes; group exercise rooms, dance rooms and multi-purpose spaces; student lounge and study space; locker rooms for 12 teams, as well as visiting intercollegiate athletic teams; enhanced space for athletic training and equipment; and program offices for recreational sports and athletics.
The design transforms the existing complex through the removal of the existing entry (the existing lobby was converted into a sprung-floor dance studio) and the creation of a new two-story entry pavilion. Existing under-utilized squash courts were divided into two levels and converted into group fitness rooms, film room, and event spaces on the first and recreation and athletics offices on the second.
The organization of new program elements enables recreation and athletics to each have independent, specialized spaces within the facility while preserving the critical interconnectedness of these two programs. Major program areas including fitness, strength and conditioning, student lounges, and multi-purposes spaces are glass-enclosed and visually-connected through layers of interior transparency. The building frames adjacent playing fields providing views from these spaces out to the athletic and recreational activities beyond.