C.W. Driver Wraps Collegiate Athletic Center in California

By Eric Althoff

CLAREMONT, Calif.—Pomona-Pitzer College, one of Southern California’s Claremont Colleges, now boasts a shiny new athletic center thanks to the work of the Golden State’s own C.W. Driver Companies, which has operated in the state for over a century.

The $43.5-million Rains Center for Athletics, Recreation & Wellness entails 95,000 square feet of up-to-date training facilities for the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens teams. Some parts of the building entail reconfigured space from a former athletic facility that stood on the site. The new building hosts many gyms, modern locker rooms as well as fitness center and other training areas. The Rains Center will be home to intramural and varsity athletic events, as well as phys-ed classes, and be open to recreational usage by students, staff and faculty.

As envisioned by SCB Architects, the Rains Center’s design motif features extensive use of glass, with a facade comprising concrete and fiber cement panels. Inside, the athletic center features polished concrete, which makes the facility more purpose-built for what it needs to house.

Thanks to such energy- and resource-efficient measures as water reduction and indoor environmental quality, the Rains Center has been awarded LEED Platinum Certification.

While the new gyms will provide Sagehens with up-to-date practice and competition facilities, the plan jointly executed by SCB and C.W. Driver entailed keeping the older Voelkel Gym as part of the Rains Center’s offerings. Dave Amundson, project executive with C.W. Driver, said that melding old with the new required extensive concrete, foundational and structural steel seismic upgrades at Voelkel, while simultaneously constructing new facilities adjacent—then connecting them together.

“The most interesting aspect of the project was paying homage to the past in the new facility,” Amundson said in a statement to School Construction News. “The design incorporated the demolished Memorial Gym wood athletic floor component into the new construction. We salvaged a large area of the Memorial Gym wood floor and used it as the facing of the new building reception desk and as seating around the grand stair in the lobby.”

Amundson and his team were also to salvage the center court and incorporate that into the Rains Center’s new matrix, thereby marrying new construction with the long and storied history of athletics at Pomona College.

“This new facility provides many improvements and upgrades to benefit the Sagehen sports community,” added Amundson.

C.W. Driver’s other educational construction projects throughout California include CSU San Bernardino’s Coyote Village and Coyote Commons—also with SCB Architects—MiraCosta College’s Chemistry & Biotechnology Building, Cal Poly Pomona’s Student Services Building and Chapman University’s Keck Center for Science and Engineering.

The firm has been ranked by Engineering News Record as one of the Top 150 General Contractors and Top 100 Construction Managers. Their offices in California are located in Los Angeles, Rancho Cucamonga, Anaheim, San Diego and Carlsbad.