Athletics + Academics
Lynn Farrell Arena at Hastings College
By Tyson Pearsall
Hastings, Neb., can be considered a small city capable of creating big noise, especially when it comes to game night in the Lynn Farrell Arena at Hastings College.
The 79,000-square-foot arena is quite unique considering the facility not only meets the needs of a growing athletic program but also provides additional classroom space without constructing a stand-alone classroom building. Completed in 2002, this 2,200-seat, top-loading arena is home court for the Bronco basketball and volleyball teams as well as part of the Osborne Family Sports Complex, which also includes a 3,000-seat football stadium completed in 2000.
A little recent history lesson: In May 1997, Hastings College announced a multimillion-dollar fund-raising campaign known as the Osborne Legacy Project. The campaign's $15 million goal was to provide Hastings College with the finest athletic facilities of any small college in the region. The final phase of the Osborne Legacy Project was the $8.5 million Lynn Farrell Arena, which also includes a weight room, locker rooms, a full athletic training area, administrative offices, meeting rooms, academic classrooms and the Hall of Fame room.
DLR Group (responsible for the architecture, engineering, interior design, code analysis, cost estimating and construction administration) was invited into the design-build process for this project with Kiewit Construction when significant programming and planning already had been completed. DLR Group balanced programmatic needs with budgetary constraints by verifying the planning and suggesting space reductions, which translated into cost reductions. Further suggestions and cost savings were found through a value engineering process undertaken on materials and mechanical systems. To support the cost of the arena, classroom and administrative spaces were incorporated into the design to defer needs and to allow for fund-raising opportunities from both athletic and academic donor bases.
Lynn Farrell Arena replaces Kiewit Gymnasium as the home site for Bronco basketball and volleyball. Fran Hummel, athletic director for Hastings College, feels that the Kiewit Gymnasium certainly served its purpose, but the time had come to move on.
"Kiewit Gymnasium held approximately half the number of people compared to the Lynn Farrell Arena and was a two-sided, bottom-loading facility," Hummel says. "The view points were not as good, and the facility had just become outdated."
Adjacent to the new football stadium within the Osborne Family Sports Complex, the new arena contains full athletic support facilities for all the college's athletes and provides a fan-friendly atmosphere during sporting events.
When it comes to game time, the arena allows spectators to enter on the concourse level above the event floor and descend to their seats. The top-loading approach is a distinctive strength to the arena in which gates lead to aisles where fans have access to their seats without walking alongside the court.
"The top-loading approach gives fans a view of the entire court and seating area, making the arena seem quite large," Hummel says. The lobby also has an elevator for handicap access to the arena floor, which is situated 13 feet below the building's entrance level and is marked for one volleyball or basketball court, two volleyball courts, or two basketball courts.
Design associated with quick arena transitions was a key factor with this project.
"The setup and breakdown for competition is very easy," Hummel says. "We can go from practice to a competition environment in less than an hour."