Athletics & Wellness Center

Loras College
Dubuque, Iowa

Located in the middle of campus, the Athletics and Wellness Center (AWC) serves as a hub of activity for athletes and the general student population.  It houses a 1,750-seat arena, locker rooms, fitness and weights, and equipment areas. 

Because of the varied terrain on the school campus, the building circulation is designed in such a way as to assist students in navigating the elevation change that separates the lower campus from the upper campus.  To reduce the apparent massing of this 74,000 s.f. building, the form was divided into 3 distinct structures.  Roof trusses were designed in the arena to reduce the height of the structure while maintaining the interior height necessary for the basketball and volleyball courts.  On the exterior, louvers, large dormers, brick, and decorative cast concrete units were used to visually tie this building to the historic buildings that surround it.

The design team utilized the energy provider’s Energy Design Assistance Program to analyze the building’s projected energy usage and to identify strategies that could be incorporated to reduce the building’s annual energy expenses.  The completed building includes high performance windows and  occupancy and daylight sensors.  A ground source heat pump with variable pumping is also being used, which is projected to reduce the annual heating and cooling costs by 69%.  The payback for the additional initial costs for these measures is projected to be 3.7 years. Sustainable materials were used in the building to improve its appearance and to reduce maintenance costs.