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University of Minnesota Athletes Village

Project Category : College/University

Total Construction Cost : $166,000,000 (Total Project Cost)

Total Gross Square Feet : 329,000

Approximate Cost Per Square Foot : $385/SF

How was the facility funded? : Private donations

Project Description:

1) Functional Planning

The Athletes Village consists of four main buildings Center for Excellence, Basketball Performance Center, Indoor Football Practice Facility, and Football Performance Center. The design concept centers around an outdoor champions plaza that connects the four buildings. The buildings vary in height but are integrated in both design and form to create an iconic athletes village. The cornerstone of the village is the Center for Excellence, a multi-use student-athlete building to help educate and create future leaders.

The project involved adding to and remodeling the existing Bierman Athletic Building. As part of the expansion, the existing lobby (located at the center of the building) was completely removed to allow a new 2-story entrance lobby to be surgically inserted into its place. The new lobby provided access to remodeled space and a 5-story addition that included the basketball practice facility, nutrition center, academic center, and leadership center. All additions and remodeling were completed while the building remained operational.

The Athletes Village brings the day to day functions of a Division 1 student athlete into one location. The adjacency of spaces between training, dining and education provides the student the ability to maximize the efficiency of their daily process and traffic flow.

Football Performance Center & Indoor Football Practice Facility

Starting the process of the Student Athlete on the third level maximizes the daily flow and gives the quickest access to all the major functions. Just outside the locker room on the third floor is the training/hydro suite, the skywalk connection to the indoor practice facility, the equipment drop-off/pick up and a communicating stair to the outdoor practice fields. Up one level, on the fourth floor, are all the coach's offices, team meeting rooms, large auditorium space and the player's lounge. The player's lounge provides a physical connection to the Indoor practice facility by spanning between the two structures. The strength and conditioning component lives in the first and second floor of this facility. The ground floor of football performance center contains a large strength space flanked by synthetic training turf and medicine ball wall. Strength and conditioning coaches have offices opening directly into the weight room. Within the strength space is a nutrition kitchen that is intentionally placed on the path to the locker rooms above. Overlooking the strength space is a mezzanine level that houses staff lockers, coaches' lockers, a massage room and cardio equipment.

Basketball Performance Center & Center for Excellence

On the main level of the Center for Excellence resides a student-athlete exclusive dining facility that opens directly to the Champions Plaza. This is meant to facilitate the togetherness and team mentality for the student-athletes.

Men's and Women's Basketball Practice Facility starts on the second level. Each team has their own dedicated gymnasium space with directly adjacent locker rooms, training/hydro space, players lounge and team meeting rooms. The locker rooms sit in the corner and have direct access into the players lounge, film room and gymnasium. On the level overlooking each gym space are the coaches' offices, coaches' and staff lockers as well as the recruiting lounge. Midway between the men's and women's locker room levels sits a specialized basketball strength and conditioning space with trainer's offices as well as synthetic training turf.

Within this same structure is a student-athlete academic Center for Excellence, which is divided only by a designated free-zone from the adjacent basketball spaces. Athletes from all sports have direct access to this academic resource but are not permitted to freely move through the attached basketball only spaces.

2) Interior Design

The University desired transparency and cohesion across the buildings, emphasizing brand consistency. The interior design acts as a common thread woven through each building, while celebrating the uniqueness of each sport. The interior color palette is infused with the Golden Gopher spirit and tailored for each program. Interpreted in multiple forms, netting inspired the concept for the Basketball Performance Center. Whether it's the crisscross accent lighting, the pattern in the carpet, or the views to the courts themselves, the 'net' can be seen physically and metaphorically. As a recruiting tool for the University, this facility casts a wider net to attract and retain student athletes.

The Football Performance Center boasts an abundance of natural light with views to the Indoor Football Practice Facility and Outdoor Practice Field. The football field inspired hash marks in the carpet pattern march throughout the facility. The end of the football also finds pattern within the carpet installation.

The indoor football practice facility is the tallest collegiate facility in the country and is designed to accommodate a future lineman turf expansion. Strength & Conditioning features a cardio loft, 50 yards of turf, and a 60' long ribbon board. Hydrotherapy features a spa like waterfall. The training room includes a turf ceiling and specialty X's and O's lighting. Specialty lighting in the locker room accommodates normal daily operations but also features special modes for recruiting visits. Each locker features a Twin Cities skyline image created by the locker ventilation holes, specialty lighting, and an iPad coach's communication screen.

Materials native to Minnesota, including counter-tops and granite were used throughout the village to knit the campus together, contributing to the success of the student-athlete.

3) Exterior Design

The Architectural expression grabs attention and fits the context of the tight urban site with a unique gym stacking solution. Separate functions of this facility are articulated with variable cladding types and colors. These separate functions are intended to be unique by material but similar in form and cohesiveness. Grand entrances are celebrated with large open volumes and planes that bleed exterior materials from outside in. Glazing amount and location maximize views of surrounding campus and the downtown skyline while providing best possible opportunities for natural light. Exterior materials were selected based on longevity and cohesiveness with the university's branding and colors. These concepts and many others inform the expression of the exterior design.

4) Site

Various site constraints from existing fields to railroad easements provided a puzzle piece approach to the building design and location on the site. The site constraints drove multiple design concepts before a stacking solution was realized. The different building components surround and enclose a champions plaza that provides space for watch parties, receptions, ice skating, fire pits, seating walls and synthetic turf lawn space. This courtyard is intended to be active year-round and captures multiple "Instagram" moments with the surrounding structures. The addition of outdoor dining and sand volleyball create a campus "back yard" for all student-athletes.

5) Cost

Total Project Cost: $166,000,000

Sustainable Features:

  • Water re-use and onsite water mitigation
  • Daylighting
  • LED Lighting
  • Electrochromic glazing to eliminate shades, increase energy savings and occupant comfort
  • Bird safe glazing
  • Remediation of contaminated soils
  • Light pollution management
  • Increased density on site
  • Proximity to mass transit and/or alternative transit options
  • Cascaded air to reduce OA requirements
  • Energy recovery
  • Thermal stratification to reduce CFM and save fan energy
  • Demand based ventilation
  • Lighting occupancy sensors
  • Recycling and organic waste collection
  • Low/Zero VOC Emitting Paints
  • Low Flow toilet fixtures
  • On-site Bicycle Facilities
  • Native Plants throughout the project. There is very little irrigated turf grass which requires a lot more water.
  • Permeable Pavers in the Plaza
  • Synthetic Grass in the Plaza (requires no regular mowing, fertilizers, or irrigation)
  • Stormwater re-use for makeup water to cooling towers
  • Photovoltaic Panels on Center for Excellence (put on after construction)

Floor Plans