Award Winner - May 2009
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Student-Athlete Integration

Kress Events Center
University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

S U B M I T T E D    B Y

Moody-Nolan Inc. in Columbus, Ohio

Size: 175,000 square foot addition, 40,000 square foot renovation

Project Cost: $32.5 million

Quick Tour:

  • Event center with multipurpose playing surface
  • Performance gymnasium
  • Practice gymnasium
  • Indoor running track
  • Retractable seating for 4,000
  • Two-story rock-climbing wall
  • Strength & conditioning areas
  • Locker room upgrades
  • Sports medicine & training areas
  • Team locker suites
  • Equipment storage & program support spaces


he University of Wisconsin - Green Bay got more than just an addition to its aging recreation center in 2007. It received an attractive gateway and a nighttime beacon that draws visitors to campus.

The 175,000-square-foot Kress Events Center is broken into two components: a recreation area and a performance court. Both are connected by a spacious, well-lit concourse that unites the disparate areas and helps ease efficient staffing.

"We didn't want to have a facility that was strictly for athletes or exclusively for students," said Sue Keihn, the university's associate dean of students. "This way it helps integrate our students with the athletes, even though we're a Division I school."

The recreation area—situated on the building's north side to be more convenient to foot traffic—adds ample fitness space with a suspended running track, group exercise and a basketball court to existing basketball courts and a pool. Patrons also enjoy scaling a two-story rock climbing wall that adds to the addition's energy and dynamic feel.

The second component, the performance court for women's basketball and volleyball, boasts a bowl configuration for maximum home court effect. Located on building's south end, the court serves as the campus' gateway. With its ample parking and presence on an outer ring road, the facility offers visitors from the city convenient access. The entire athletics program also is housed in offices in this area.

"We understand the unique needs of a facility like this, and that combination was a winning solution in this case," said Curt Moody, president and CEO of Moody-Nolan.

The stunning exterior features light and dark banded buff-colored brick as a curtain wall and patina-colored material roofs and canopies. Large full-height precast concrete tilt-up slabs were used as a substrate for masonry anchorage in the performance bowl and created substantial savings on the ease and speed of construction. The majority of the site is surrounded by nearby wetlands, creating both a design challenge and an opportunity for breathtaking landscaping. The areas immediately adjacent to the entry have large landscaped public plazas that have been planted with native grasses and shrubs in an effort to restore natural habitat.

The interior utilizes stained concrete floor patterns, exposed ceilings and plenty of clerestory/borrowed light. Clerestory light serves a sustainable theme throughout the building and provides natural daylight in large interior volumes such as the performance bowl and the public concourse. Much of the casework is finished in deep, rich cherry wood stain.

The entire package serves as a wonderful advertisement for the campus, helping to attract new students and keeping current ones happy and healthy.

"When I'm walking into the building I can hear people milling around and saying, 'What a gorgeous facility.' It has a great first impression," Keihn said. "It has been fantastic. We've got a record number of students using the facility. It's one of the highlights of our prospective student tour."


W H A T   T H E   J U D G E S   S A I D

Very playful interior. The new facility blends nicely with the existing building.

Colleen McKenna

Composition of various building masses is well done. Exterior and interior materials have harmonious blend. 'Interplay' of different levels are visually appealing and function well.

Michael Pratl

Beautiful use of colors and lighting. The playful chair sculpture in the lobby really "sits" well with me! Very clean lines in the gymnasium, and the focal point climbing wall offers a visible activity from multiple vantage points. Beautiful facility at night.

David Burch

A S S O C I A T E D    F I R M S

Architect of Record:

Venture Architects (Joint Venture of Kahler Slater and Zimmerman Architectural Studios)

Design Architect:

Moody-Nolan Inc.

Structural/MEP Engineers:

Harwood Engineering

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