Thomas College, Waterville, Maine
Part of Thomas College’s ongoing campus master plan features an athletic complex to be constructed adjacent to the turf fields on the south campus. The first phase of this multi-phase facility will include an athletic center, followed by a new gymnasium and ultimately a field house. In 2018, the Thomas College Board of Trustees committed to proceed with the design of the project.
The Athletic Department had previously developed a design program and vision for this first phase that would act as a support facility for athletics and sports programs. The athletic center would house coaches’ offices, a strength and conditioning center, training room and locker rooms for both Thomas athletic teams as well as visiting teams.
In August 2018, an RFP was issued requesting qualifications for design services for the first phase of the center. Those firms solicited were requested to submit a conceptual design of the building, demonstrating their vision and selection of materials. The college’s selection committee evaluated a number of creative submissions, from highly qualified firms and SMRT from Portland, ME was unanimously chosen.
SMRT’s vision for the building was not only to provide offices/locker rooms, but their team was enthusiastic to develop a branding of Thomas Athletics by the use of graphics and a tunnel that the athletes would pass through when taking to the game fields. Their concept was a two-story facility built into a berm that had locker rooms on the ground level with players exiting the building to the games field via a tunnel.
In the ensuing months, SMRT worked with the stakeholders at Thomas to finalize layouts. During this time, the design program expanded to incorporate Thomas College’s newly launched Esports branded varsity program. SMRT skillfully led the building committee through numerous iterations of the building’s exterior design before reaching the signature presence the College was looking to achieve.
The exterior design features sloping rooflines with extensive glass facing the athletic fields, in combination with a glass atrium and clerestory windows in the lobby. A blend of brick, metal and composite panels compliment the architecture of recently constructed buildings on campus. Locker rooms and the training room occupy the lower level and offices, Esports, and strength/conditioning areas occupy the upper level. The common spaces and lobby extend the length of the building providing expansive views of the athletic fields. The lobby extends to an outdoor patio area that will offer space for receptions and additional viewing of the fields.
CC of Maine was retained once again by Thomas College, to provide preconstruction services that included feasibility studies, budgeting, developing/issuing RFP’s for design and construction management services. CC of Maine also coordinated permitting and the efforts of the design team and construction manager to develop the project within the parameters of the College’s budget.
Construction is anticipated to commence in the summer of 2020.
Photos by SMRT