Kalamazoo College, a private liberal arts institution, is moving forward with long-range planning improvements to its wellness opportunities. This new facility serves the student and faculty population with state-of-the-art fitness equipment and group exercise spaces. The 31,000 SF two-story building is a large addition to an existing indoor tennis structure, and contains new USTA and varsity tennis coaches’ offices. Portions of the existing facility were razed, and the resulting addition provides a much-needed gateway onto the campus.
The space is configured to maximize efficiency of personnel with a welcome desk positioned to monitor members checking in as well as internal traffic to the tennis structure and along the main circulation corridor. The entry area is open to the second floor balcony and weights/fitness areas above. A lounge space at the entry provides studying and gathering space for students.
Flexibility of spaces supports cardio workout areas and group exercise rooms, one of which is a double high space for their Cirq du K aerial training. Two racquetball courts and a squash court are across the hall from a dedicated dance studio. The facility also offers health assessment services available to all students and staff. Additional support spaces include student and faculty locker rooms and offices.
The facility was designed to be more inclusive by providing an on-campus destination for students of all capabilities. In creating a welcoming, transparent space, students are less intimidated and more willing to use the facility. Incorporating design choices such as functional multi-purpose spaces, natural light, durable and flexible materials allow the space to accommodate future programmatic changes. In addition, Wi-Fi connectivity across the facility gives patrons the ability to track their progress with cloud storage.
Sustainability was an important focus of this project. However in lieu of a LEED certification, Kalamazoo College gave students credit for attending meetings that focused on energy efficiency issues. Features such as the building envelope and materials selection were discussed. Unique components of the facility are the air handling units, which make use of magnetic bushings to eliminate friction.
In all, the project demonstrates the small private college’s dedication to providing its students with a state-of-the-art facility to maintain and practice fitness and wellness for years to come.