As part of the San Mateo County Community College School District’s efforts to invigorate their campus facilities, BCA Architects has been selected to design a new $43,000,000 high quality health club on the Cañada Community College campus: the Cañada Kinesiology and Human Performance Center.
The new 82,000 square foot facility is both commercial and educational in nature, aptly showcasing BCA’s expertise in both market sectors. The facility center will not only benefit Cañada’s student population, but also the surrounding community as a whole. While the multipurpose gymnasium, indoor basketball court, and swimming pools will be accessible to the student population for kinesiology education and sports, the fitness center portion of the building – including cardio and weightlifting machines, locker rooms, dance, yoga, flex studios, and childcare – will be open to the general public for private membership. Allowing community members to use the health club for a fee adds a resourceful and lucrative element to the facility by creating a source of additional revenue for the college.
“Fitness is such a huge deal right now in schools. I think this building is going to be a game-changer when it comes to how fitness facilities are designed on college campuses in the future, and I don’t mean just in California but throughout the United States,” says the President of BCA Architects, Brian P. Whitmore, AIA, NCARB, LEED®AP. “There are a couple of things this building does uniquely that make me feel this way. First, it offers a great partnership between public and private entities which will benefit the students and athletes attending the college, as well as generate revenue to assist the college in its financial goals. We’ve created a very open and inviting space that engages all of the different constituents within the design.”
One of the vital elements of BCA’s design is sustainability. The facility will implement environmentally efficient materials and current trends in sustainable architecture. It is targeted to meet LEED® GOLD certification. This includes strategies for capture and re-use of grey water, solar panels, natural ventilation, maximization of views and thermal comfort/control of the fitness and gymnasium areas. Unlike the former center – an almost windowless block structure built in the 1960s – the new facility is structured around tapered glass paneling and a central spine of corten steel running down the middle to facilitate circulation. Utilizing glass as the primary material allows the building to receive an abundance of energy-saving natural light and opens up the fabulous views of the site’s surrounding valley.
“The glass walls and open design integrate the building into the campus,” says Whitmore. “Fitness is incorporated into the lifestyle of the campus; it’s not behind closed doors and solid walls, its open so you can actually see it. Someone working out can see the students walking back and forth to class, and someone walking back and forth from class can look up and view the people working out — so there’s this instant connection between fitness and academics as part of a healthy lifestyle.”
The San Mateo County Community College District is trying to make this a world class facility, not only in the type of equipment and technology integrated in the space but also in its design, which means maximizing the views, making it feel open and welcoming, and integrating it into the campus in a way that makes it feel unified and synergistic.
“I’m not looking to just build a rectilinear building, I’m looking at something that’s really going to stand out and be a kind of beacon for this institution, if not for the county,” commented Ron Galatolo, Chancellor of SMCCCD. “BCA Architects have really been instrumental in allowing us to achieve that vision and that dream because they all think outside of the box – they are the consummate out-of-the-box thinkers. They see themselves as partners, not only with the owner but also with the builder, and in doing so it makes the design and building process almost seamless. We owe BCA a great deal of gratitude because they’ve been there with us from the very beginning and we had a very large vision that surrounded about half a billion dollars in construction, and without them being there for us I’m sure we would not have accomplished it to the level we’ve done so far.”
The Cañada Kinesiology and Human Performance Center, slated to open in late spring 2017, is a truly distinctive structure that will set the precedent for future fitness facilities, not only in terms of its sustainable and holistic design but also for the resourceful business model it incorporates.