Union College, Fitness Center Renovation of Alumni Gym

Schenectady, New York

A major component of Union College’s campus master plan was converting the 100-year-old alumni gymnasium into a state-of-the-art fitness facility. After a new basketball pavilion was completed in 2004, the old gym, formerly the college’s basketball facility, became available for renovation. The building had never seen a major modernization; the principal design ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONASSOCIATED FIRMMLB Construction Services, LLCCOST PER SQ FT$142.86FEATURED IN2006 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation was to convert it into a modern, vibrant fitness space that would be attractive to students, faculty and staff.

The resulting design uses the attributes of the existing gym space and highlights the historic steel trusses, brick walls and arched windows of the original construction. A new entrance and reception desk were added to provide a single point of control. To define zones for various activities and to bring a more inviting scale, new ceiling components, railings and floor patterns were designed to define circulation and sub-divide the large space into several areas. New windows were added on the first floor to bring additional light to the space and to provide a view to athletic fields.

A second goal was to make the basement space useful for coaches’ offices, a weightroom and a dance/aerobics room, but the existing area was difficult to access from the gym above, lacked natural light and had low ceilings. A large opening was cut through the fitness floor to provide a public stair to the basement. Suspended ceilings were removed to enhance the spaces’s volume and maximize natural light.