New Center at King’s College Lands AIA Award

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — The $10.5 million King’s College Scandlon Health and Wellness Center, designed by Spillman Farmer Architects, has received the 2013 Award of Excellence from the American Institute of Architects, Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter. Jurors particularly noted the building’s elegant and restrained composition, careful proportions, color pallet and material use, as well as its open nature.

The monumental Scandlon Center introduced 41,000 square feet of new multi-purpose recreation and education space to the King’s College campus, and features brick work, metal panels, and concrete masonry. Rather than disguise these simple, economical architectural components, designers chose to highlight them.

“The Scandlon Health and Wellness Center’s aesthetic quality is ultimately about its utilitarian nature,” Spillman Farmer Design Principal Joseph N. Biondo, AIA, said in a statement. “We made a deliberate effort to impart a simple, clear, and balanced beauty that will become a timeless enhancement to the King’s College campus.”

The college decided to construct a new indoor sports facility to provide more athletic and recreational space to students, and to house its sports sciences program. The project’s largest space is the 20,000-square-foot gymnasium, located on the building’s upper level. Other spaces include a 2,600-square-foot athletic training education suite, a 860-square-foot health sciences classroom, a 1,320-square-foot physical therapy suite and a 1,600-square-foot administrative suite. An outdoor teaching area adds green space to the urban location, and also provides for outdoor recreation.

The use of natural building materials continued inside, where day lighting and multiple wood storage components help illuminate and soften the space. Exposed masonry walls and red accent gypsum board walls punctuate the gymnasium and other areas of the new building, while durable and easy-to-maintain polished concrete floors fill the majority of public spaces. The building’s structural system also includes a poured-in-place spread footing foundation, steel frame, and long-span steel joists.

"The design of the center accomplished the dual goals of providing expanded recreational opportunities for our students, as well as office space for the College’s athletic training faculty," the Rev. John Ryan, president of King’s College, said in a statement. "The building is a tremendous addition to our campus."

The new building is also linked to the college’s existing 71,500-square-foot main gymnasium through a glassed walkway, and occupies a compact, sloping urban site. Due to its unique location and relationship to existing buildings, the Scandlon Center presented several key challenges for the design team. To account for these restraints, program spaces, including athletics, student recreation, and health sciences, are economically stacked and strategically zoned to take advantage of the site’s natural topography.

The project also included several upgrades to the original gymnasium, adjacent to the new structure. These included revisions and upgrades to the HVAC ductwork, renovations to the locker rooms and bathrooms, and the installation of new bleachers. The HVAC system in the new gymnasium also services a section of the original gymnasium building.

The project team also included construction manager Sordoni Construction Services; Radnor Property Group; structural engineer Barry Isett & Associates; civil engineer Derck & Edson Associates; mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineer Martin Rogers & Associates; and sports flooring suppliers and installers Beynon Sports Surfaces and M. Abraham Flooring.