New UMass Basketball Facility Scores High in Sustainability and Support

For years, the men’s and women’s basketball teams labored through practices at the old Boyden Gym. No more. Today the University of Massachusetts Amherst boasts a state-of-the-art performance development facility with dedicated courts for both programs.

Completed for the 2015 fall season, “The new Champions Center provides UMass Amherst with a ‘Gateway Building’ and a modern identity for its basketball programs,” says design principal Richard Friedson, FAIA, of JCJ Architecture in Boston. The $24 million, 58,000 s.f. building includes a long list of amenities: identical practice courts, team rooms and coaches’ offices, a Legacy Hall, and shared spaces for weight training, film review, nutrition and sports medicine.

It also incorporates a long list of sustainable features that will ensure a LEED Gold certification. Carefully planned daylighting complements the benefits of renewable energy, water and waste management, and indoor environmental air quality. With extensive use of natural light, the facility’s façade combines a transparent curtainwall system with a translucent polycarbonate panel system by Duo-Gard. Integrating the two has significant advantages in energy efficiency and occupant comfort.

“The incorporation of the Duo-Gard polycarbonate panel system provided variety in the composition and a less expensive alternative to curtainwall,” says Friedson. “On the southern exposure, the polycarbonate panel system provides daylight while limiting the penetration of direct sunlight that would result in significant glare for the occupants. Together, both materials contribute to a rhythmic façade composition that expresses the activity inside.”

Alternating with curtainwall, Duo-Gard’s Series 3500 System features 40mm tongue-and-groove translucent polycarbonate in an opal tint. Framing is clear anodized aluminum. The glazing panels range from 8’ to 13’ tall  runs over 50’ long. Architect Friedson requested that no horizontal supports be visible, so Duo-Gard engineers designed vertical fins to address the wind loads, resulting in a custom configuration.

In addition, Duo-Gard provided the 22’ wide x 16’ long x 6” deep polycarbonate and aluminum canopy that glows UMass Red during the day and when illuminated at night, further signifying the building’s entrance.

Known officially as the John Francis Kennedy Champions Center, the UMass building has gained accolades. One of Friedson’s favorites: “Kentucky’s coach, John Calipari, was formerly head coach at UMass. He visited the facility and tweeted that it was one of the best basketball performance development centers in the country.”

Photo Credit: Robert Benson Photography