flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

An athletic center accentuates a college’s transformation

University Buildings

An athletic center accentuates a college’s transformation

Modern design and a student health center distinguish the new addition at The University of Saint Joseph in Connecticut.

By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | May 9, 2022
The new wing to the O'Connell Athletic Center at the University of Saint Joseph in Connecticut
Expansive windows animate the façade of the addition to O'Connell Athletic Center at the University of Saint Joseph, and highlight the activity taking place within. The University’s colors, blue and yellow, are integrated into the exterior glass to add another layer of connection and visual excitement. Images: Robert Benson Photography

Last September, the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, Conn., held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new 31,277-sf wing to its existing O’Connell Athletic Center that nearly triples the seating capacity of its gymnasium and is serving as a multifunctional nexus of student activities that go beyond sports.

Three years earlier, this historically all-female institution became coeducation, which meant incorporating male students into its programs and increasing its number of varsity sports. In 2017, the university had hired Jim Calhoun, the Hall-of-Fame men’s basketball coach at the University of Connecticut, to build the University of Saint Joseph’s first-ever Division 3 men’s basketball team from scratch. (Calhoun stepped down from the team’s head coach position last November.)

The building addition, designed by JCJ Architecture, includes a new gym that can accommodate up to 800 spectators (the old gym sat roughly 300), as well as four new locker rooms, an equipment and laundry room, the Beekley Center for Student Health and Wellness, and the Hoffman Lobby. Coaches’ offices are located on the second floor. A balcony seminar room, with whiteboard and conference table, overlooks the gym and can be used by all student-athletes.

The addition’s design calls attention to the school’s commitment to reinvention, by reconciling the traditional red brick colonial aesthetic of the existing campus buildings with the modern wing’s sleek glass forms, cantilevers, and projections.

New gym within O'Connell Athletic Center at the University of Saint Joseph.
From the outset of the project, the program hinged on the creation of a full NCAA regulation basketball court. Highlighting the central tenets of connectivity and flexibility are athletic staff offices with visual access to the court and a skybox seating area overlooking the arena that can function as both a VIP space or an additional classroom.

The project hinged on the creation of a full-sized NCAA regulation basketball court. But the school also wanted the new building to benefit the entire campus community. The wing is located across the street from Saint Joseph’s Student Center, creating a hub of activity. The wing’s lobby serves as a ticketing and concessions area during game days, and a space with high-top tables and casual furniture where students can study and socialize.

The ground-floor health and wellness center replaces a facility that had operated from a smaller outlying building.

The $16.2 million project was completed in April 2021. Other Building Team members included BVH Integrated Services-a Salas O’Brien Company (SE, MEP, FP, Lighting Design), O&G Industries (CM), CMK LEED (sustainable design), Langan (site and civil engineering, traffic, landscape architect) Jaffee Holden (acoustics), DVS-a division of Ross and Baruzzini (security), and VJ Associates (cost estimating).

Related Stories

Building Team | May 20, 2022

Caltech breaks ground on a new center to study climate and sustainability

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) recently broke ground on its Resnick Sustainability Resource Center.

Laboratories | May 20, 2022

Brutalist former Berkeley Art Museum transformed into modern life science lab

After extensive renovation and an addition, the former Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive at the University of California, Berkeley campus reopened in May 2022 as a modern life science lab building.

Sports and Recreational Facilities | May 19, 2022

Northern Arizona University opens a new training center for its student athletes

In Flagstaff, Ariz. Northern Arizona University (NAU) has opened its new Student-Athlete High Performance Center. 

University Buildings | May 16, 2022

Yale’s newly renovated Schwarzman Center enriches student campus social life

Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) recently unveiled the design of their restoration of the Schwarzman Center at Yale University, which includes dining spaces, a bar, and a food shop.

School Construction | May 11, 2022

New Digital Learning Commons at Rutgers supports doctoral programs in over 16 disciplines

The new Digital Learning Commons at the Rutgers University Archibald S. Alexander Library provides students in over 16 courses of study and four professional schools with spacious collaborative and study space.

Sponsored | BD+C University Course | May 10, 2022

Designing smarter places of learning

This course explains the how structural steel building systems are suited to construction of education facilities.

Performing Arts Centers | May 10, 2022

A historic performance space is transformed to reinforce a campus’ Arts District

Connecticut College’s Athey Center for Performance and Research at Palmer Auditorium balances the old and new.

Sponsored | BD+C University Course | May 3, 2022

For glass openings, how big is too big?

Advances in glazing materials and glass building systems offer a seemingly unlimited horizon for not only glass performance, but also for the size and extent of these light, transparent forms. Both for enclosures and for indoor environments, novel products and assemblies allow for more glass and less opaque structure—often in places that previously limited their use.

Sports and Recreational Facilities | Apr 27, 2022

New Univ. of Texas Moody Center houses men’s and women’s basketball, other events

The recently completed 530,000 sf University of Texas Moody Center is the new home for men’s and women’s basketball at the Austin campus.

Architects | Apr 22, 2022

Top 10 green building projects for 2022

The American Institute of Architects' Committee on the Environment (COTE) has announced its COTE Top Ten Awards for significant achievements in advancing climate action.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021


Magazine Subscription

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.


Follow BD+C: