A League of Its Own
The town's new fieldhouse is a 100,000-square-foot structure made from 90 percent pre-engineered structures, allowing the building to be constructed in only nine months. The exterior look allows the building to blend in with the numerous warehouses, storage facilities and the lumber yard located within the industrial area. The fieldhouse sits at the edge of the industrial area near the beginning of a retail center, which creates, according to Chris Kastelic, principal architect at Sink Combs Dethlefs, a central hub for a bustling community.
"The dynamic for the building design was deliberate," Kastelic said. "The majority of money was spent on program space instead of interior finish, allowing for openness and spectators to view activities from different spots."
The Fieldhouse features two regulation or four youth basketball courts, children's programs and a play structure, a 25-foot indoor climbing wall, a 185-by-85-foot inline hockey rink, a 170-by-85-foot turf field, a fitness center, a running track, lacrosse, martial arts, volleyball and batting cages.
A central lobby connects both upper and lower lobby levels, and circulation is divided vertically from the two entryways funneling visitors to the main reception desk. The control desk has a view into almost every venue, allowing staff to monitor activities.
According to Kastelic, the pre-engineered structures not only kept the construction time down, but kept building cost down as well. Kastelic said that the idea behind the fieldhouse was to make inexpensive architecture that is visually pleasing at the same time. The conventionally framed steel and masonry components give an exposed structural view. The high windows filling in the sides of the building along with translucent dormers allow light into the building and control glare and direct sunlight.
"The building turned out to be a phenomenal piece of architecture for the cost, considering it is a 100,000-square-foot structure," Kastelic said. "Efficient lighting systems help keep energy usage down to a third of what a normal structure of its size would use."
The popularity of the building has been evident so far since its opening in the summer of 2007. According to Mary Colton, assistant recreation director for Parker, the town has already exceeded expectations for program participation. The town is already trying to find ways to better allocate sports, community and senior programs during the day since demand is so high for space for sports and community events, especially at night. Adding new programs and sharing space for a broader range of community members, instead of having 100 percent league play, is another goal for the town. The overfilling of space, however, is a good thing in the mind of Colton.
"We had the 'If we build it, they will come' mentality when we designed the programs for the new building," Colton said. "This building is appealing to a lot of people, and so far they have been pleased."
Jim Cleveland, recreation director for Parker, said that it only took six months to reach program participant capacity during evenings at the fieldhouse. Cleveland attributes a large part of the success to their marketing department, which created awareness of the project throughout the community. This communication allowed residents to form teams and leagues for the various sports to begin competing as soon as the fieldhouse opened its doors and piqued interest among community members to use the facility for personal training.
"We wanted to construct a building that would work as a transition between the industrial and the entertainment zones of town," Cleveland said. "We wanted a building that could be built professionally and inexpensively, and now we have a building that represents the Town of Parker."
Cleveland also added that the energy-efficient design has saved the town money with its lighting systems, and natural light does not hinder play in any manner by glaring down on playing fields. Contrary to what most people would think when entering a spacious facility such as the Parker Fieldhouse, the atmosphere is comfortable and maintained at a low cost.