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Wellness Facilities and Athletic Centers: It’s All About the Pregame

Ipswich YMCA Aquatic Center

Ipswich YMCA Fitness and Aquatic Center 18,800 SF expansion and renovation Rendering courtesy of Olson Lewis +

Preparing for any fitness endeavor takes discipline, practice, and planning. In the same way, building facilities focused on wellness, fitness, and athletics takes a team focus where the owner, architect, and builder are all playing on the same field. Windover has had the great opportunity to work on several of these project types and finds that our approach of truly integrating preparation, design and building is driving us to the goal line. A few examples of this work include the Ipswich Family YMCA Phase II Fitness and Aquatic Center Expansion, Cushing Academy’s Watkins Field House, St. John’s Prep Wellness Center, and Endicott College’s Raymond J. Bourque Arena. The common element among these new facilities is the need to bring them online as quickly as possible in order to serve the needs of their users while planning and executing the projects responsibly and cost effectively, respecting hard-earned donor or fundraised budgets.

Cushing Academy - Watkins Field House

Cushing Academy – Watkins Field House 32,000 SF athletic center featuring gymnasium, fitness, locker, and supportive areas Rendering courtesy of BHA, Inc.

Coming to the table early and helping our partners with the programming and constructability of these facilities is a critical play. Our experience prepares us to ask the right questions and to think “like an owner,” ensuring that for every decision made in the planning process we are evaluating its immediate design, constructability, budget, and schedule impact. And just like any team sport, we do this through close collaboration with our partners whereby we are able to deliver the best solutions for our clients. Examples include:

  • At Cushing Academy, early trade partner collaboration in the design of a unique curved steel truss system reduced the required steel tonnage from 400 to 280 tons, and resulted in significant cost savings. Additionally, bringing a site work partner on board helped to save $60,000 on proposed site work by evaluating the most effective approach to a challenging, sloping site.
  • In its original plans, the Ice Arena at Endicott College would include a second floor entry due to the existing steep grade of the site. Windover facilitated an integrated problem solving approach that engaged the architect, ice consultant, civil engineer, MEP subcontractors, and site work subcontractors to evaluate the building siting and in turn developed a far more cost effective approach that achieved a single story facility that met the architect and owner’s intent. Additionally, working in this integrated manner with our site work trade partners incurred a $30,000 savings by carefully examining the site work approach. Working closely with the ice consultant also uncovered an alternative approach to building mechanical (changing from ammonia
    St. John's Prep Wellness Exterior Second View

    St. John’s Preparatory School – Wellness Center 78,000 SF wellness center with an indoor aquatic center, gymnasium and indoor track, fitness, locker, and supportive areas Rendering courtesy of Flansburgh Architects

    ice refrigeration to a halocarbon system) that improved efficiencies, facility maintenance, and safety.

The power of teamwork and collaboration is our best offense for these sophisticated projects—Windover brings teams together early to leverage individual strengths and problem solving. With this pregame planning, we are providing our clients facilities that serve their user’s needs and simultaneously meet their goals of increased memberships or student enrollment.


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