“Every student, every day.” This motto for The College of Wooster was one of the driving forces behind the development of the new student recreation complex – the Scot Center. With almost 125,000 square feet of space that includes 53,000 square feet for the indoor running track area, a fitness center, weight room, tennis courts, and a variety of meeting rooms and offices, this jewel of a building is one of a kind.
The College of Wooster, in Wooster, Ohio, opened its doors almost 150 years ago in December 1866. Today the college is thriving with 2,000 students enrolled in a wide variety of liberal arts programs. Men and women from across the USA and international countries attend classes with 47 states and 42 countries represented in the student body.
Built to LEED Gold standards, the Scot Center is an immense structure built into a sloping area of the campus, with a unique split level design. “The development of the Scot Center took approximately 18 months from the day it started in 2010, just after commencement,” says Ted Bogner, president of BCMC Inc., and contractor for the project.
“This is a brand new facility with an East Wing, a West Wing and a central tower that houses an elevator and stair to distinguish the division between the sections.” This structure is reminiscent of the first chapel tower on the campus known as Memorial Chapel.
The East Wing spans over two levels and is home to the indoor running track above and a dividable aerobic room, meeting spaces and other amenities. The five-story West Wing was designed for Athletic Department staff offices, the main lobby and the fitness center, with room for mechanical systems on the top and bottom floors.
“A lot of thought went into the design of the Scot Center to create a college community that would accommodate intramural sports, current students, faculty and staff and retired faculty and staff,” says Bogner.
As the facility was being developed, a decision for flooring was in process. Three products were in contention and each manufacturer was required to supply an eight-foot by eight-foot sample. These samples were installed and subjected to everyday use and maintenance to determine which would hold up best. Mondo came out on top overall.
The running track has a dual-colored Mondotrack surface, while the inner court area had Mondo Sportflex M installed. The fitness center and weight room use the Mondo Sport Impact, which is able to withstand the constant usage and heavy equipment.
To ensure an abundance of natural light was available for the Scot Center, the architect’s team did their homework well. “We visited a lot of rec centers before we started this project,” says Terrance Shannon, project manager with MacLachlan, Cornelius & Filoni Architects, Inc. (MCF).
“I was surprised to see how dark most of them were, so it was a priority to change that with the Scot Center. We maximized the amount of glass allowable according to building codes. That worked well so you don’t even have to turn on a light when you come into the rec center. We have two skylights and glass facing east and south. Every floor of the West Wing has views to the rec center, including the lobby, the fitness room and the offices.”
There is a liberal use of glass in the recreation center, with a curved glass wall that lets in a tremendous amount of natural light. It also allows the students who are in the student union to watch their friends working out.
The most notable feature of the Scot Center, and a top LEED factor, is the 20,000 square foot solar panel on the roof which is the largest of its kind in any college campus in the USA. “It is a proven technology and on a bright day, it generates a significant level of power to the building,” says Bogner. “The efficiency of the panel can be monitored by the general public through the college’s website at www.wooster.edu.”
Tom Anagnos, project principal and sports consultant with Hastings + Chivetta Architects, was pleased to be a part of the Scot Center development. “It was a great project to work on. Our firm has done several developments like this, so we were able to assist MCF with layout and integration of technology to get the optimum design and requirements for multiple areas of the facility.”
The main recreation center, which houses the indoor Mondo track and tennis courts, can be divided via netted curtains to support a number of activities running simultaneously.
A large curtain running the length of the track separates the inner court area. Each of the courts can be further separated, individually or in groups. When the curtains are down, the track team can be practicing their drills at the same time different activities are taking place on the courts. ***
The Scot Center has created a dynamic core for athletics at the College of Wooster and the athletic department team is extremely happy with the Mondo flooring. “We love the new facility and the surface,” says Keith Beckett, director of athletics, physical education, and recreation.
He and Coach Dennis Rice did significant research and determined Mondo to be the top choice. “As the head coach, Dennis had a significant interest from the point of the performance aspect,” says Beckett. “As the athletic administrator, I was more interested in the total multi-use capability of the surface for our varsity teams that would be practicing in the center, as well as the abundance of general fitness use that it would get.”
Everyone they spoke to had nothing but positive things to say about the Mondo surface. “That's exactly the way we feel. It's an ideal surface that accommodates the highest level of competition and it is perfect for people who are just using the facility for recreational purposes.” The surface will get a chance for a high-profile test in the coming year as Scot Center hosts conference championships in March 2013.
“We like the appearance of the Scot Center because it emanates class,” says Beckett. “I give the architects a great deal credit for the spin they put on the structure to make it look so elegant, both internally and externally.
“Last season we hosted three indoor track meets, all of which turned out to be very successful,” says Coach Dennis Rice. “We got great reviews from all the coaches that came here and the student athletes who competed on our Mondo surface.”
Rice says athletes find that the surface is extremely fast for the runners and explosive for the jumpers. “It is also the type of surface that is beneficial for training. In terms of our programs, we are able to train on it without the athletes experiencing shin splints and lower extremity injuries. We feel that Mondo is by far the best product on the market.”
Russell Houser, athletic facilities and operations assistant has also received positive feedback from people working out at the Scot Center. “A lot of general users, whether it is the retirees or people in the wellness programs, really like the surface because it doesn't wear out the legs. There is a little less energy expenditure because it is so soft. "