University of Illinois at Chicago, Flames Athletic Center

Chicago, Illinois

  • FIRM

    Mekus Studios

  • CLIENT

    University of Illinois at Chicago

  • AREA

    58,000 sq.ft.

  • TOTAL COST

    $8,000,000.00

  • COMPLETION DATE

    1/1999

The new Athletic Center for the University of Illinois at Chicago consists of a practice and training facility for the men’s and women’s collegiate athletic programs. The facility houses two NCAA regulation-size basketball courts, multiple locker rooms, a strength and conditioning area, a training room, a sports- medicine center, and administrative offices for coaches ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONASSOCIATED FIRMSasaki & AssociatesCAPACITY200COST PER SQ FT$138.00FEATURED IN1999 Architectural Portfolio the athletic department.

The objective of this project was to renovate and convert the existing UIC practice ice-rink facility in order to accommodate these new activities. After evaluation of the existing ice-rink building, it was determined that the building would best be used as support and administrative space for the team sports and basketball programs.

A new gym was designed with two basketball courts to be located on the south half of the existing building. Also, a new mezzanine floor was designed to create two levels within the existing structure. A new glass entrance and circulation link were added between the existing ice-rink facility and the adjoining physical-education building. This glass entrance extends out toward Roosevelt Road to greet visitors.

Upon entering the new athletic complex, visitors can access the lower level, which includes the gymnasium, cardiovascular/weightroom training and sports-medicine area. Also located on the lower level are the basketball lockers and team lockers.

The upper level includes the coaching offices for the men’s and women’s basketball programs, cardiovascular weightroom, men’s and women’s staff locker rooms and the offices of the athletic director, marketing promotions, administration, development and baseball coaches.

One of the main objectives of this project was to create a high quality facility that not only serves to enhance the fundamental abilities of the UIC athletes, but also functions as a dynamic student-athlete recruiting tool. The designs of the main entrance and the various interior spaces were developed to impart a sense of pride and accomplishment in UIC athletics. Also, overlooking the gym are lounge areas where potential recruits and parents can talk with university officials about the programs.

The new facility provides the UIC athletic programs with a competitive advantage over other rival schools in the form of improved training, recruiting and coaching conditions.

Photographer: ©Jon Miller/Hedrich-Blessing