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Last renovated in the late 1960s, Lake Forest’s Sports Center was home to the college’s varsity athletic teams. Wanting to expand their facility to accommodate club sports, intramurals and general recreation, the college looked to Pepper to make it happen. The center originally housed a competition gymnasium, flanked by handball and squash courts on one side and a pool on the other, with lockers located on the lower level.

The new and more modern facility included a renovation of the existing structures and the addition of three new multipurpose courts, suspended recreational track, fitness spaces, and relocated and expanded athletic training space. The original 1,200-seat gymnasium remains, but a hardwood floor court, synthetic floor court and a turf floor court were added to be used for volleyball, soccer and basketball. The new building — accessible to all students, faculty and staff — is a testament to Lake Forest’s commitment to full-body wellness for the entire community.

Lake Forest College
Solomon Cordwell Buenz
Project Location
Lake Forest, Illinois

Project Stories

Providing the right support

The addition created two specific challenges: supporting the existing structure and blending the old façade with the new. The new facility connected directly to the existing gym under a giant girder roof system that was not supported by columns. Pepper worked with the structural engineer to develop braces approximately three stories tall to support the existing structure. To make the new facade of precast, exterior brick tile and curtainwall blend with the existing brick façade, the team spent time providing six options for the owner and architect to match colors, which resulted in a cohesive structure.