Facility Profile - July 2014
Find a printable version here

Sports Facilities

Shooting Touch
Basketball Suite, Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.

By Steve Nelson

The design of a coaches' office suite involves a few technical challenges. One primary concern in athletic program spaces is sound transmission—the spaces will host private conversations between coaches and recruits, between coaches and teams, and between coaches. Keeping the conversations private—and keeping the sound of team meetings and game videos contained—is a matter of bringing interior walls all the way to the underside of roof decks, above the ceiling; offsetting outlets; providing proper insulation; and layering sheetrock in the demising walls. One technique is the layering of different thicknesses of gypsum board so that one layer dampens the vibration of the next. Other measures include specifying gasketed doors, which feature a shoe that extends and presses tightly to the floor or threshold when the door is closed.

Another challenge in renovation is HVAC, especially in a space that has been adapted from other uses and which features a low ceiling structure. In the original fitness center, two window air conditioners had been used to augment the existing ventilation system, and existing mechanical rooms were remote from the space. Cool air had to be ducted to the basketball suite, where a VAV system was used to control cooling of disparate spaces such as small offices and larger locker rooms.

Using What You Have

Many athletic department donors believe they must spend lavishly. Cost-efficiency is thought of as doing things on the cheap. But, renovation projects don't have to break the bank to turn a nondescript space into a showplace. The cost of bringing an entirely new presence to Dartmouth's two basketball programs was $1.87 million. In the process, 6,800 square feet of program space was created out of underutilized space that occupied a prime location. What's more, spaces formerly occupied by the basketball programs that had been scattered among various campus buildings now have been made available for the college's next priority project.

Steve Nelson, AIA, is a partner with Wethersfield, Conn.-based Moser Pilon Nelson Architects. For more information, visit www.mpn-arch.com.