Recreation brings individuals together and builds communities around common interests. Rarely is that more evident among chosen Facilities of Merit® than it is with the 2018 class of 10 winning projects — which includes campus and community recreation centers, an aquatics center, a sports complex, an intramural building and two YMCAs. Even facilities housing intercollegiate athletics also make ample room for wellness enthusiasts.

Facilities of Merit winners were selected in July by a panel of seven architects at the conclusion of two days of deliberations at AB Media headquarters in Madison, Wis. Next month, the architects, consultants and facility owners behind each winning project will be honored at a reception at the Athletic Business Conference & Expo in New Orleans.

Thanks to all 62 entrants for helping ensure the program’s high level of competition, and congratulations to the 2018 Facilities of Merit. — The Editors

Stonehill College Sally Blair Ames Sports Complex


“A smart and simple diagram led to a building that blends perfectly into its context both physically and aesthetically.” — Adam Bastjan

Stonehill College sought to expand and enhance its current Sally Blair Ames Sports Complex to accommodate much-needed recreational and athletic space. Opened in 1988 and designed to serve 1,930 students, today the Ames Sports Complex serves more than 2,500 students. To ensure the improvements met not only immediate needs but also longer-term aspirations, the athletics and recreation district is master-planned to increase the sports complex by more than 60,000 square feet while also locating a future 33,700-square-foot basketball arena and a 550-car garage — all of which are anchored by Stonehill’s existing football stadium, main playing field and outdoor track.

“The simple, clear concept for the exterior skin gives this building a quiet, sophisticated presence.” — Anita Moran

The transformative project repositions the existing outdated complex into a contemporary center for athletics and recreation. The organization of new program elements enables recreation and athletics to each have independent, specialized spaces within the facility while preserving the critical interconnectedness of these two programs.

Major program areas including fitness, strength and conditioning, student lounges and multipurpose spaces that are glass-enclosed and visually connected through layers of interior transparency. The project provides much-needed space for a new fitness center, group exercise rooms and dance studios for recreation. Athletics gains new locker rooms for football, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and track, as well as a new strength and conditioning area and a new training room. New office suites for both athletics and recreation are provided, as are ample support space, staff lockers, and rooms for equipment and laundry.

“This addition to the existing building completely transforms it, and the elevated, glazed volume is very handsome. A well-organized plan makes the functions easy to read and use.” — Don Jones

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