Wake Forest University Wellbeing Center Winston-Salem, NC

Project Category : College/University

Total Construction Cost : Withheld per Owner's request

Total Gross Square Feet : 185,000

Approximate Cost Per Square Foot : Withheld per Owner's request

How was the facility funded? : Private donations

Project Description:

1) Functional Planning

The Reynolds Gym transformation project was a three-phased project completed in March 2018 that provides a new home for expanded and renovated facilities serving Student Recreation and Wellness, Student Health Services, and Women's Volleyball. With its 40,000 SF expansion, and total renovation, this prominent facility allows state-of-the-art programs to be organized with a high degree of transparency creating a visually dynamic experience throughout! Phase II was completed just prior to the 2017-18 academic year. That fall semester, 85% of undergraduate students utilized Reynolds Gym facilities and services before the project was fully completed. In the first year of Phase II completion, students and employees utilized the facility over 300,000 times. (Wake Forest has an undergraduate enrollment of 5,100 students.) Since project completion, Wake Forest has experienced increased in participation in all programmatic areas - intramural and club sports, group exercise, personal training, aquatics, and outdoor recreation.

  • Wayfinding is drastically improved using existing multi-level floor plates, supplemented by signage and environmental graphics.
  • The north/south primary internal concourse is transformed spanning the existing building and continuing as a link to the new addition.
  • The main west entry allows for one control point for Recreation, Wellness Suite, and Athletic functions of the building.
  • Students' desire for the facility to serve as the campus community center has also been realized.

The 3,000 square foot living room just off the main entry lobby is a popular hangout with its 2-story windows, fireplace, water wall, live plants, mechanical massage chairs, and comfortable furnishings.

Additionally, while 85% of the facility is dedicated to fitness and recreation, the building also houses the Office of Wellbeing, Student Health Services, SAFE Office, student EMTs, and lounge for students in recovery. The Office of Wellbeing is located immediately adjacent to the living room.

  • The Student Health Center and Health Services Suite has a dedicated entry on the south side of the building with emergency ambulance access.
  • The elevator is centrally located at the 'circulation core' to provide access to the 8 different existing floor plates within the building, with a separate lift into the varsity athletic gym.
  • By adapting an existing building for campus recreation, student health services, wellbeing, and varsity athletics, the project provides a truly holistic approach to wellness and wellbeing, all under one roof.

2) Interior Design

The renovated space was lightened and brightened, in part, by adding windows to bring considerably more daylighting into the building. Lighting design highlights the many warm, inviting wood and brick surfaces that make this facility unique and serve as a counterpoint to the energy of the activity within.

  • Lighting design helps divide large, open lobby area into distinct spaces.
  • Round pendant lights focus attention on the reception desk, and stairwell lighting plays on brick surfaces. Lights inside concrete lip at the base illumine the large water wall.
  • Irregular shapes of 'rock alley' walls are illuminated by adjustable track lights, which can be reset as bouldering and rock-climbing routes are changed over time.
  • The Lap Pool is primarily illuminated with indirect lights to diminish glare and allow lifeguards maximum visibility. Large windows cut into the end wall add daylighting.
  • The Volleyball gym meets the 100 foot-candle NCAA standard. White ceiling surface reflects uplighting to create even, bright illumination.
  • At the MAC Gym, efficient, elegant LED fixtures replaced high pressure sodium lights, enhancing economy, yet remaining consistent with the gym's traditional, warm look and feel.

Ceramic tile flooring was a major design element offering an excellent level of durability in high traffic areas including building corridors, the 'Living Room' Hub, Student Health Center and restrooms. Multiple sizes, colors and decor options were strategically mixed together to add interest and break up long extended corridors on this project. This solution allowed a change of color, pattern and direction while incorporating the 'W' in a traditional herringbone pattern. Connecting historical building aspects like the interior brick walls with a warm, complimentary tile was essential in the success of this transformation.

3) Exterior Design

The project transforms the existing inward focused Reynolds Gym into a transparent vital University Hub providing a complimentary addition which forms a south terminus to the future Poteat Quad. The new addition responds directly to Reynolds Gym copying its exterior articulation. Efforts were made to "quiet" the addition to retain the prominence of Reynolds Gym. Simplistic cues have been crafted to achieve synergy.

The goals of interior transparency and transformation are realized by the integration of glass at the exterior. This glass is contemporary while maintaining the integrity of the Collegiate Georgian framework. Large arched masonry articulations on the main facade are transformed with glass allowing a high degree of natural light penetration and underscoring the prominence of the arched forms.

The existing building consisted of all masonry, load-bearing walls, so a new structural steel skeleton was inserted throughout the building, to both bring the building up to code (i.e. meet seismic requirements) and extend the future longevity of the transformed Reynolds Gym. Structure was also added for the large, exterior curtainwall to maintain the original, exterior characteristics.

4) Site

Site improvements for the Reynolds Gym Renovation and Expansion project include:

  • Improved pedestrian experience as one approaches and enters the original Reynolds Gym with new pavement, accessible paths, a new grand stair up to the main entry and landscaping.
  • Parking and vehicular circulation improvements on the site are achieved by adding a new one-way egress to the north connecting to Wake Forest Road, expansion of parking for Outdoor Pursuits, and additional parking at the Student Health entrance.
  • A new campus green space north of the Gym Addition connects to the surrounding context as well as provides a relaxing, garden-like space for the campus community.
  • A large lawn and amphitheater space is planned for a future phase. This area will provideo pportunities for outdoor recreation, both passive and active.

Sustainable Features:

The initial target for the project was LEED Silver, but we soon plan to submit for LEED Gold certification. Features of the facility include:

  • - All exterior windows replaced
  • - Addition of high-efficient building mechanical systems zoned for functionality
  • - Highly Efficient Lighting throughout (LED)
  • - Re-use of an existing building, keeping the footprint of the new addition to scale and with as little impact to the site as possible. Also, reuse of existing brick and similar materials to infill at interior walls.
  • - Photo-Voltaic Array (34 panels) on the roof that is used for heating of the lap pool and spa
  • - Tile chosen helped the project achieve (anticipated) points in the Indoor Air Quality by releasing no VOC emissions and the Materials and Resources category with more than 20% pre-consumer recycled content, minimizing the need for raw materials on this project.

Floor Plans