Inside Rensselaer
East Campus Athletic Village Starts Construction This Summer
* East Campus Athletic Village
The planned East Campus Athletic Village is the
most extensive athletic construction project in Rensselaer’s history.

Rensselaer plans to break ground in August on the first phase of the East Campus Athletic Village, which will dramatically improve campus sports facilities, expand athletic opportunities, and enhance the overall student experience.

The most extensive athletic construction project in the Institute’s history, the athletic village will include a multipurpose stadium with artificial turf football field, a 1,200-seat basketball arena, improvements and an addition to the Houston Field House, a strength and conditioning center, an administrative center, indoor pool, outdoor tennis courts, and indoor sports facility complete with track and tennis courts. Public spaces will include an atrium, lobby, café, and pro shop.

“We’ll see an enormous difference in the facilities for all teams and club sports and intramurals as well,” said Ken Ralph, director of athletics. “Everyone will benefit.”

The new athletic village is a core component of The Rensselaer Plan. The facilities will meet the needs and expectations of current students—more than 70 percent of whom participate in athletic activities on campus—and prospective student-athletes.

All athletic village venues will be built and renovated in accordance with National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) standards, clearing the way for Rensselaer to host additional NCAA tournament games. The facilities also will position Rensselaer as a prime location for regional and national high school tournaments, increasing visibility and, ultimately, applications and enrollment.

“There’s no doubt that athletic facilities affect student decisions about college. We hear it all the time,” Ralph said.

All told, the project will add 150,000 square feet of new indoor recreation, administrative, and public space and will renovate three outdoor playing fields.

Project highlights include:

Project Phase 1, August 2007–August 2009

  • Multipurpose stadium with lighted, synthetic turf field. For varsity football, soccer, and lacrosse and outdoor intramural and club sports, the 4,800-seat stadium will include a press box and VIP suite; open-air public concourse with concessions and cafe seating; locker rooms for athletes, coaches, and officials; and batting and pitching cages. Starting in 2010 the stadium also will be used for Commencement.
  • Arena, with bleacher seating for 1,200. The new arena will be home to a basketball game court, practice court, basketball coaching suite, locker rooms, Sports Medicine and Strength and Conditioning Center, offices for staff and coaches, and football-coaching suite and recruiting room. Public spaces will include a VIP lounge, team rooms, cafe, pro shop, and Athletic Hall of Fame.

Project Phase 1A

  • Expansion at Houston Field House. Upgrades to the north side of the Field House will provide the space necessary to upgrade locker rooms to professional level for both the men’s and women’s teams.

Project Phase 2

  • Natatorium, additional indoor and outdoor facilities. The final phase of the project will include an indoor pool, an indoor sports center with 200-meter track and tennis courts, and outdoor tennis courts.

The athletic village also offers an opportunity for Rensselaer to demonstrate once again its commitment to be a good neighbor. Phase 1 site work will include a new drainage system that will reduce storm water flow in the adjacent neighborhood. New energy-efficient and targeted lighting systems will prevent glare from disturbing nearby residents. Traffic and safety enhancements — including the closing of Georgian Terrace — will ease congestion and improve safety for pedestrians. A shuttle service will support energy conservation efforts and help reduce traffic.

Go Red and Green
The East Campus Athletic Village reflects the needs of today’s students—and of the environment. In fact, according to Barbara Nelson, project manager, Rensselaer is aiming for the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Gold rating, one of the highest levels of certification for energy-conscious environmental design.

“The Administration Division is stepping up its commitment to green building in projects all across campus,” Nelson said. “Students and alumni now expect that we recognize the role of the environment and our responsibility to preserve and protect it.”

The athletic village’s “green” features focus on energy generation and conservation. They include:

  • Photovoltaic solar cells that capture electrical energy from the sun for use inside the buildings.
  • A solar preheating system that, during cooler months, collects and warms air before it’s drawn indoors to conserve energy and reduce heating costs.
  • Daylighting systems that take advantage of existing light to reduce energy consumption during daylight hours.
  • The possibility of architectural wind turbines to generate power.
  • Shuttle services and conveniently located bicycle racks to encourage student-athletes and visitors to choose conservation-friendly modes of transportation.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of green buildings. LEED certification provides independent third-party verification that buildings meet standards in five areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. Four levels of certification are available: certified, silver, gold, and platinum.

Throughout construction, Rensselaer will provide USGBC/LEED with site plans, floor plans, photos or renderings of the project, and other required documentation. Once work is complete and the facilities in use, systems will be tested for compliance and LEED will decide whether to award certification — and at what level.

For more information, including a video with a fly-through of the proposed facilities:

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 1, Number 1, July 2007
©2007 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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