The Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center (HAARC) at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, opened in late 2020.
The new center is rooted in Colby College’s mission to support individual and collective growth through physical and mental health, and encourage teamwork and community through sport and competition.
In 2015, Hopkins Architects and Sasaki were appointed to lead a team to deliver the 350,000-square-foot facility. In fact, it is now the largest athletics facility in the northeastern U.S.
Inside features include:
- Multi-use field house
- Ice arena
- An Olympic-sized Myrtha pool
- A competition gymnasium for basketball and volleyball
- Squash courts
- A strength and fitness center
- Multi-purpose studios
- Locker rooms
- Sports medicine facilities and offices
“Our vision was to create a confident architecture that promoted the roles of athletics, recreation and wellness at Colby, and distinguish the college from its peers,” said Andrew Barnett, a principal at Hopkins Architects. “Our proposals addressed the way in which an expansive building could still achieve an intimacy of scale within the campus landscape and invite wider-use throughout the collegiate community.”
Working cohesively with Hopkins, Chris Sgarzi, a senior principal at Sasaki, said their interdisciplinary team served as Architect of Record. Because of this, it enabled them to innovatively implement a complex project that does two things:
- It foregrounds sustainability.
- It provides a balance of intimate competitive athletics venues with recreational and wellness opportunities for the entire campus community.
“Close coordination with Colby stakeholders and a comprehensive integration of departmental operations enabled a clear and efficient building that supports every team’s needs and provides an intimate and engaging spectator experience,” added Sgarzi.
EXTRA CREDIT: Three campus rec professionals share the “don’ts” of renovating they’ve gleaned from their own experiences in the industry.
Tiffany Lomax, the director of Recreational Services at Colby College, also shared how the new facility has absolutely added to the wellness of the campus.
“We have so many venues now that offer so many different things; it’s really cool to see students just make this place their own,” she said. “Whether it’s studying in the atrium, doing homework in our meeting rooms, hanging out with friends or playing board games — community wise — this facility allows them to feel welcome.”
In addition, Lomax emphasized the HAARC’s space allows them to share the facility between Athletics and Recreation.
“By understanding why this facility was built, who it was built for and ensuring everyone feels like they have a place, I think we’ve done a very good job of trying to find what that looks like,” said Lomax. “It doesn’t mean Athletics doesn’t have their time in certain spaces, and it doesn’t mean Recreation comes second to everything. I think it speaks to how much our students do the informal piece. They don’t feel the need to be invited over. They’re checking the schedule to see what’s available and they’re utilizing the space in the way they see fit.”
Images courtesy of Sasaki