Award Winner - May 2009
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Uniting the Campus Community

Leonard Center Athletic & Wellness Complex, Macalester College
St. Paul, Minn.

S U B M I T T E D    B Y

Hastings & Chivetta Architects Inc. in St. Louis

Size: 195,000 square feet

Project Cost: $31 million

Quick Tour:

  • Natatorium with off-deck viewing area
  • Fieldhouse with 200-meter track, basketball courts & tennis courts
  • Competition gymnasium with retractable seating for 1,200 spectators
  • 14,000-square-foot fitness center
  • Two racquetball courts
  • Multipurpose spaces for dance, yoga and martial arts
  • Wellness center with laboratory, offices, quiet room and resource rooms
  • Men's, women's & faculty locker rooms
  • Training room with hydro pool
  • Administrative offices, coaches' suite and underground vehicle storage


ombining the best of fitness, sports and recreation with a nod to leisure and social interaction, the new Leonard Center Athletic & Wellness Complex at Macalester College is an example of how generous alumni can have a major impact on campus. Over 346 donors contributed more than $26 million to complete the facility, which was named for the late George P. Leonard, his wife Wilma Fox Leonard and their descendants, who have been longtime supporters of the college.

The new facility integrates a diverse audience and unique missions—education and health, competition and recreation. The Leonard Center appeals to all with state-of-the-art fitness equipment, a fieldhouse, the Riley Pool and a gymnasium. Interaction and relaxation enter the mix with Scotty's juice bar, a student lounge, the atrium and meeting rooms.

The integration of health services, wellness and health promotion activities with athletics serves as the primary innovation for the Leonard Center. The building is home to Health & Wellness Services, which serves students who need health, counseling and other services. Collaboration between the staff of the various functions of the Leonard Center will make new activities possible. A prime example of this crossover is the new wellness lab, where students can analyze their fitness, get information on diet and nutrition and receive professional assistance to create a training regimen.

"We don't just think of this as a space for athletics," said Laurie Hamre, vice president of student affairs. "We think of this as a community center. We want it to be welcoming for everyone."

And students certainly do feel welcome. About 70 percent of Macalester students report working out at least twice a week, and an increasing number are interested in general health and wellness. While relatively few women played sports when the previous gym was built 80 years ago, now about 20 percent of all students compete in one of the college's 21 varsity sports.

Showcasing the unification of disparate elements, a 13-panel, 450-foot-long mosaic mural that wraps around three walls of the 48,000-square-foot fieldhouse features more than 33,500 Macalester images from various departments and events. United, the mosaic looks like the national flags of the 128 countries of the college's students and alumni. In the lobby, banners show photos of the campus, students and professors.

Green architecture was an important consideration for the project. The new facility uses recycled materials throughout: Elevators run on vegetable oil; windows are placed to take advantage of light and heat; and the design allows for efficient heating and cooling. What's more, about 90 percent of the previous facility was reused or recycled, revealing Macalester's commitment to its past—and the future.


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

Creative circulation articulation creates places for people to stop and observe programs.

Michael Pratl

Simple, well-organized plan.

Colleen McKenna

A S S O C I A T E D    F I R M S

Structural/Civil Engineers:

BKBM Engineers

MEP Engineers:

Ericksen Ellison & Associates Inc.

General Contractor:

McGough Construction

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