Maine's Goliath

James
24 Feb 2010

Building fit for sporting battles arises

As the largest building project to date on the University of Maine’s campus, the Student Recreation & Fitness Center fulfills the University’s mission to create an attractive campus with quality programs that enhance the learning environment. The 88,000 sq ft facility is comprised of three major elements – natatorium, courts and fitness, connected horizontally and vertically by a two-storey north/south and east/west circulation spine.

Extensive use of glass and natural daylighting provide panoramic views to over 90% of the spaces within and out to the campus. An exterior materials palette of architectural precast concrete, copper metal clad panels, field stone, locally harvested 'South Bay Quartzite' stone veneer and glass walls harmonize with the natural setting of New England, while wood decking/ceiling are used throughout the natatorium, bringing natural materials inside. Two double-height skylighted galleries lined with gluelam wood timber columns form the primary circulation path and are intersected with a main stair and elevator providing access to the second level.

Innovative construction materials and methods contained virtually no volatile organic compounds. Sustainable design components and systems including recycled materials, 'Green Guide' certified furniture, and energy-saving heat recovery systems earned this facility LEED™ Silver certification.

Home to events, meetings, career fairs, recruitment open houses, and community use, the facility has become a main stay of the campus. Fitness and wellness programs have increased 10-fold. Each day, students, faculty and staff, and local community interact, tallying more than 580,000 visits since August 2007.

The facility has been honored with AIA New England’s Excellence in Architecture Award, Athletic Business magazine’s Facility of Merit, and the Design Award of Honor from the Society of American Registered Architects (SARA).

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