St. Luke’s School, Athletic Center

New Canaan, Connecticut

The challenge was to provide the community a home to nurture and grow its athletic program.

The athletic space, previously a basketball court, now is an inviting and highly flexible facility. It provides numerous opportunities, such as expanding the limited outdoor field space with retractable bleachers, allowing for inside practices during rain or multiple teams ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$213.00FEATURED IN2007 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSpecialized at one time. It extends the seasons in the same way.

“We are a small school of 490 students,” says Mark Davis, head of St. Luke’s School. “Every time we build a facility it needs to do more than a single function.

St. Luke’s Athletic Center hosts championship basketball and squash tournaments, Special Olympics events and Veteran’s Day commemorations, but it’s also the heart of athletic enrichment and an integral meeting space for the community.

The athletic center frequently plays host to such events as the Special Olympics, which is able to use the athletic facilities, along with meeting spaces within the building. Athletic camps and the Waterside School hold their summer programs in the center and the main school building. The town of New Canaan uses the center for sports tryouts and has an agreement with the school to use the center and school fields as staging areas in an emergency situation.

In addition to athletic events, the large gymnasium has been used for graduations, Ugandan dance troupe performances, Grandparents’ Day celebrations and Veterans’ Day recognition.

The architecture takes advantage of the severe grade change and proximity to athletic fields on different levels while creating an appealing and inviting space. The gracious curve and high ceilings of the field level’s viewing gallery provide a panoramic view of four international-sized squash courts; a spacious, well-equipped fitness center; and a multipurpose room large enough to hold an NCAA-regulation wrestling match and a 100-seat spectator gallery. The court level encompasses a full-size basketball court, two practice courts, a retractable batting cage, a fencing area and locker rooms. Spectators are accommodated by 600 permanent and retractable bleacher seats. The administration level holds the athletics department offices and the main conference room.

Building the athletic center allowed the school to convert an existing gym space in the main school building into a state-of-the-art performing-arts center that supports its drama and music programs.