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Innovating on the traditional field house to put performance first: in building design and on the field

Colby College Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center

Colby College
Waterville, ME
Approximately 350,000 SF
Hopkins Architects
Jeremy Bittermann; Renderings courtesy of Hopkins Architects
Additional Services
Landscape Architecture
Completed 2020

Sasaki teamed with Hopkins Architects for the design and implementation of the Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. At approximately 350,000-square-feet the facility was the largest building project in Maine at the time of construction and puts the college at the forefront of Division III athletics and as a leader in athletics facility program, quality, and performance.

The new building and surrounding landscape are the epicenter for athletics, recreation, health, and wellness on campus. This facility is home to a range of program types and venues, including a multi-purpose field house (containing an indoor track and tennis courts), ice arena,  50-meter pool, competition gymnasium, squash courts, strength and fitness center, climbing wall, multipurpose spaces, locker rooms, sports medicine facilities, offices, and outdoor amenities.

The project is part of a larger effort of Colby’s to improve the competitive results of its intercollegiate athletics’ programs, promote and encourage a healthy campus, and deepen its connection to the local community and region. The new facility is sited on land formerly occupied by playing fields at the campus’ western side and provides a new campus gateway. The playing fields were relocated and upgraded to enhance the campus athletics district.

The college is one of the leading sustainable environments in the country, and is one of only four to achieve carbon neutrality.  Core sustainability principles related to indoor air quality, daylight and views, thermal comfort and building performance are seamlessly integrated into the building and site design to meet project goals related to health, wellness and optimal performance of body and mind.  The project is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification and will be the first SITES certified project in Maine.

At this scale, even with a tight program layout, the voluminous venues and adjacent spaces require a vast area of exterior cladding to enclose. Large programs like these can too often result in “big metal box designs,” but the design and construction team had higher aspirations for this project. Through innovative approaches to facade design the team achieved that ideal outcome of elevated aesthetics, high performance, good value, and timely delivery—ultimately expanding the possibilities for the humble insulated metal panel, which is ubiquitous to sports facility design.

For more information contact Chris Sgarzi.

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