Illinois Central College, Cougarplex Fitness Center

East Peoria, Illinois

  • FIRM

    Dewberry Architects Inc.


    Illinois Central College

  • AREA

    54,000 sq.ft.





Illinois Central College embarked on a path few community colleges pursue—making it a specific goal to provide more amenities to the growing population of on-campus students. The new CougarPlex Fitness Center has become the centerpiece of this program.

The design of the center provides a 54,000-square-foot addition ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$241.00CITATIONSports Stadiums/Athletic Facilities CitationFEATURED IN2012 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSports Stadiums/Athletic Facilities 9,000 square feet of remodeling to an existing gymnasium building. Program areas include a new lobby/entry, cafe, group exercise rooms, student locker rooms, exercise equipment area, jogging track, three-court gymnasium, and administration and athletics support areas. The renovation added locker rooms for visiting teams and coaches for both men’s and women’s athletics.

The challenge for the design team was how to add a dynamic student fitness center to an existing building from the 1970s. The strategy was to remove a portion of the existing facility and create a buffer between old and new. A new entrance enables students and spectators attending athletic events to move though the center of the new expansion, further reinforcing the synergies of old and new. Given the compact site and inability to remove any adjacent parking, the addition takes on the geometry of its context, bending and warping to maximize the program as well as embed itself with its user’s path.

Sustainability was at the forefront of the design. An extensive green roof was utilized on the bent bar, and all existing systems were upgraded to include energy-efficient units. Additionally, the existing building was re-clad and fully insulated to ensure that modern standards for energy performance were met. The project is seeking a LEED silver rating.


"The green roof, fitness floor and track incorporate space limitations well. Great inner courtyard space. Skillful integration of old and new."--2012 jury