Skip to content

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
LEED Platinum certified; SITES Gold certified
Jeremy Bittermann; Matthew Arielly; Drawings courtesy of Hopkins Architects
Additional Services
Landscape Architecture
Completed 2020
Boston Society of Architects, Honor Awards for Design Excellence, Merit Award
Green Building Showcase 2022, Market Leader Award Series, Site & Landscape category
American Institute of Architects New England Design Awards, Merit Award
Architizer A+ Awards, Jury Winner, Sports & Recreation – Gyms & Recreation Centers category
NIRSA Outstanding Facilities Awards, Recipient
International Civic Trust Awards, Award Winner
Engineering News Record (ENR), Best Sports/Entertainment, Excellence in Sustainability Award of Merit and Excellence in Safety Award of Merit
WAN Awards, Silver award, Leisure category
Athletic Business Magazine, Facility of Merit

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.

Building Organization

The uniquely comprehensive facility is efficiently arranged and clearly organized with an emphasis on daylight and openness. The entrance invites visitors into a lobby that opens up the heart of the building and unifies around a common source of natural light and long view-sheds, functioning as a central crossroads for the new center. Major venues are sited around a central courtyard that connects all three levels and provides clarity and orientation for both visitors and everyday users. The entire building design is deliberately transparent to maximize views into venues and to intuitively articulate the building’s organization—conveying a sense of intimacy despite its expansive scale.

“This project is crisp and welcoming in its design, light-filled and open in its presentation, and carefully considered in every detail to make for an exceptional experience for each and every member of the Colby community.”

Colby President David A. Greene

Massing and Materiality

The mass of the building is broken down to a series of forms which holistically relate to the campus scale. Each of the five separate venues is clearly articulated and differentiated by size, but together they create a legible profile set in the landscape between the campus and adjacent highway. 

A hierarchy of materials is used to articulate the building’s organization and to convey a sense of human scale despite its overall size. The facades that face the campus feature glass and a distinctively sheened grey brick which complements the metallic finishes used elsewhere in the building. Materials progress through a translucent polycarbonate structure to the larger scale and industrial aesthetic of the metal panels that face the nearby interstate highway.


The college is one of the leading sustainable environments in the country, and is one of only four campuses 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 LEED Platinum certified and SITES Gold certified. 

For more information contact Chris Sgarzi.

Sasaki colorful logo Sasaki 中文