This new athletics and wellness center designed by BKSK for a K-12 independent girls’ school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is helping young women pursue excellence of spirit, mind, and body. The 53,000 s.f. center supports a diverse range of activities. Key spaces include a competition-sized six-lane swimming pool, a NCAA regulation-sized volleyball and basketball court, a dance studio, a fitness room, and several multi-purpose practice rooms, with space for regulation-sized fencing pistes. A grand daylight-filled stairwell encourages physical activity beyond the bounds of sports.
A host of sustainable design strategies enhance the center’s operations and contribute to the health and comfort of its users. Solar hot water heaters, a cooling tower with rooftop retention tanks, insulated building envelope panels, low-emissivity windows, and a pool dehumidification heat recovery system allow for comfortable air and water temperatures while minimizing the consumption of nonrenewable resources. Automated lighting controls, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and high-efficiency mechanical equipment further reduce the environmental impact of the center, a building type with traditionally high resource needs. Consequently, the project achieved LEED Gold certification.