September 15, 2014

New athletic center promotes holistic student wellness

 The center's competition-sized pool is one of the features that make this Manhattan facility so unique.
The center’s competition-sized pool is one of the features that make this Manhattan facility so unique.

Earlier this month we had the pleasure of celebrating the opening of the new Athletics & Wellness Center for the Convent of the Sacred Heart, right on our home island of Manhattan. At the event, members of the project team gathered with school trustees, the building committee, and the school’s extensive community of friends and supporters to celebrate the completion of a very successful project and the people who made it happen.

The party, which took place in the new gym, struck a delightful balance of sportiness and elegance. Tables featured centerpieces of candles, roses, and athletic trophies, while large, red umbrellas (the school’s signature color) both enhanced the festiveness of the night and brought intimacy to a cavernous space. After several remarks, including the reading of handwritten thank you notes by Sacred Heart’s students, guests were encouraged to participate in self-guided tours of the brand new 53,000 square foot center.

Needless to say, we are very proud to have delivered a building that so holistically supports Sacred Heart’s student community. In the words of Joseph J. Ciancaglini, Sacred Heart’s Head of School:


“There is no doubt that this new facility will
help build strong bodies and minds, that it will make
possible service opportunities as never before, that
it will build community through good sportsmanship,
and that it will help us educate our students to use
their freedom wisely.”


The facility is particularly unique in New York, as it provides the all-female K-12 student body a six-lane swimming pool, a volleyball and basketball court, a dance studio, multi-purpose practice rooms, a fitness room, and locker rooms, as well as teaching spaces and several informal areas for gathering.

Several bold sustainable design strategies support the building’s operations as well as the health and comfort of its users. Because of this, the center is on track to achieve LEED Gold certification. Some of the more visible strategies include the rooftop’s solar hot water panels and Solatube skylights in locker rooms, while systems like a pool dehumidification heat recovery system work behind the scenes. The project team also prioritized indoor environmental air quality, resulting in a robust pre-occupancy flush out of airborne toxins and the specification of low-emitting materials.

Learn more in e-Oculus’ recent coverage of the project.

The center’s variety of athletic and academic spaces will help to further empower Sacred Heart’s students in pursuing excellence of spirit, mind, and body.
The 53,000 square foot center also includes a NCAA regulation-sized volleyball and basketball court.
Other key spaces include a dance studio, a cardio and weight room, and flexible multi-purpose rooms, including one with space for regulation-sized fencing pistes

All photos by Raimund Koch.