žžƵ

University of Connecticut

Athletic
District

Client
University of Connecticut
Location
Storrs, CT
Size
70,424 GSF (Athletic Spaces); 2,970 GSF (Maintenance Building)
Completion date
March 2021

This project programs and designs a new athletic destination in the west campus district of the Storrs campus - a destination that aids in athlete recruiting, focuses on the student athlete and enhances fan experience. 

The Husky Athletic Village is comprised of Elliot Ballpark, home of UConn baseball, Morrone Stadium, home of UConn soccer and lacrosse, Burrill Family Field, home of UConn softball, as well shared practice fields and the state-of-the-art Rizza Performance Center. 

Embedded in a beautiful native forest with steep topography, the design for the Athletic District embraces the rugged beauty of the site to create sports venues that are picturesque and stunning. žžƵ had the added responsibility of developing a look for the Village under the umbrella of the University of Connecticut's (UCONN) athletic style guide. The graphics for each sport demonstrate equity among the different programs, yet include different content based on history, longevity and coaching staff. Five interactive, touchscreen kiosks - an invaluable recruiting tool - include easy-to-search-for player stats, professionals, championships and more. 

Designed in collaboration with Newman Architects.

Elliot Ballpark
Berm seating at Elliot Ballpark
Concourse at Elliot Ballpark
Indoor Batting
Men’s Soccer Locker Room
Training Room
Circulation at Rizza Performance Center

In association with Newman Architects, over the decades-long history of UConn athletics, the facilities that supported the Husky programs had become outdated and in need of major upgrades. UConn envisioned a new athletic destination in the west district of the University’s existing Storrs campus to serve as the home for its soccer, baseball and softball teams and become a powerful recruiting tool by creating a focus on the experience of both student-athletes and fans alike.

The Athletic Village’s location at the edge of campus offered many challenges and opportunities for the design team. One of these primary challenges was the need to design four new fields and a performance center on the site of existing soccer, baseball and softball venues. Early in the design phase, 16 different site permutations were studied and analyzed for solar orientation, traffic/circulation flow and geological exploration of large below-grade granite deposits. Existing infrastructure was also adjusted and incorporated into the new design, re-establishing the connection to the campus at large, and avoiding disturbance to well-established pathways and wayfinding. The site plan, once realized, offered equity and opportunity for each gendered sport to achieve greatness. 

The Husky Athletic Village is comprised of Elliot Ballpark, home of UConn baseball, Joseph J. Morrone Stadium, home of UConn soccer and lacrosse, Burrill Family Field, home of UConn softball, as well a shared practice field and the state-of-the-art Rizza Performance Center.

Situated at the heart of the village, the performance center offers dedicated locker rooms for each program, which interlock within the building core and spatially bridges team spaces to allow for maximum connectivity and efficient transition between preparation and performance. Coaching staff share secured office space stacked directly above the athletes where views out toward flanking stadia are best delivered. The resultant light-filled atrium sets a collegiate tone on the interior, with a balance of native material finishes and branding graphics to evoke a heritage of pride and student success. It also houses all restrooms and concessions supporting the three spectator venues.

The soccer stadium takes advantage of the location of the Rizza Performance Center is the backdrop of Joseph J. Morrone Stadium and houses the press box looking down on the pitch as well as containing the coach’s offices that provide premier views during recruiting visits and games.  The soccer stadium can seat 4,000 spectators and is bowled in with seats on all four sides to provide a great game-day atmosphere for Athletes and Husky fans.

UConn Softball’s Burrill Family Field was proud to host the Big East Softball Tournament in its inaugural season. The Stadium is conveniently located adjacent to Jim Calhoun Way and next to the Rizza Performance Center for quick access to player locker rooms, training and indoor batting cages. The stadium includes a state-of-the-art video board beyond right field, high-quality sunken dugouts and a synthetic turf outfield. Additionally, an earth berm beyond the center field was implemented to accommodate alternative seating and game day experiences for the fans and allows for additional seating capacity in addition to the fixed seats.

Embedded in a beautiful native forest with steep topography, the design for the Athletic Village embraces the rugged beauty of the site to create sports venues that are picturesque and stunning. Natural site formations played a key role in shaping the outfield wall of Elliot Ballpark, giving it the unique shape and playful quality that exists nowhere else. Other site constraints were leveraged to frame special moments for spectators, such as the forested backdrop that elevates and towers over any built structure coupled with a grassy berm along the first baseline where seating has no boundaries.  This plays into UConn’s culture of high fan engagement and attendance and leaves the site to become an advantage in and of itself to the home team.

Awards
Project Team — Higher Education Honorable Award
Connecticut Building Congress
2022
Construction Management/General Contractor: Large New Construction
ACG Build CT Awards
2022