With a mission to better serve their students’ health and wellness needs, Cornell College engaged Kahler Slater and Mortenson Construction to design an updated home for their athletic and wellness programs — the new Richard and Norma Small Athletic and Wellness Center — by the fall of 2022.
With this renovation and expansion project, Cornell aims to:
- Recruit new students
- Enhance athletic programs
- Secure competitive events
- Provide a positive impact on every student and student-athlete, now and for future generations
The $19.5 million renovation and expansion project includes:
- A new wellness and fitness center with updated cardio and weight equipment.
- A new athletic training room for sports medicine and performance.
- New locker room facilities for all student-athletes, visiting teams and the Cornell community.
- An expanded lobby with gathering spaces for students and visitors, serving as a vibrant student lounge.
- New centralized office spaces and a conference room for coaches, staff and administration.
- Two group exercise rooms for workout classes, training, dance class and practice.
- A concession stand for game day visitors.
- Two new classrooms for block courses, team meetings and social functions.
- A 20-yard, multi-purpose turf area for movement-based exercises.
Adam Bastjan, an associate principal and senior designer at Kahler Slater, said an exciting aspect of this project has been how aware Cornell College’s entire leadership team has been of the potential impact their recreation and athletic facility project can have on their entire campus.
“From the onset, the college identified the top goal was to provide a design and experience that would assist in overall recruitment,” said Bastjan. “Hearing from leadership that the design has already been a substantial help in recruitment is incredibly rewarding for our entire design team. Currently, they have over a 25% increase in first year deposits compared to the previous years which they attribute to the new building.”
EXTRA CREDIT: Here are a few tips for choosing an architecture firm.
Seth Wing, the director of Athletics at Cornell College, described the project as a way to connect the dots of the campus community. As such, it’s not only for students but for faculty and staff as well. “Our athletic facility was outdated in all aspects. There was also a distinct separation on campus of wellness, the athlete area and the student body area,” described Wing. “This project is going to bring it all together and provide a lot more campus cohesion and better understanding of each other.”
Wing also elaborated additional aspects of the project, which include:
- An expansive and modern athletic training room that will play a part in growing the kinesiology major on campus, for instance.
- A complete locker room renovation to combat the previous lack of lockers for student athletes.
“It will really give all of our athletes a home base. And, I truly feel that’s where great camaraderie and relationships can be built — just in those common spaces,” said Wing. “Overall, this building is really going to serve the entire campus. Of course, our athletes will be impacted, but it’s more about serving our campus community.”
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