Kent Denver’s new gymnasium, the $2-million, 16,500-sq-ft Yates Pavilion, is a highly visible tribute to the school’s passion for sports.

hoto by David Lauer Photography
The new gym enhances Kent Denvers athletic program by allowing more teams to practice while eliminating early-morning and late-night scheduling.

The new addition includes a competition court with a higher seat count capacity than the adjacent gym, two full-sized practice cross courts, locker rooms, a lobby space and concessions area.
Expected to earn LEED-Gold certification, the new gym enhances Kent Denver’s athletic program by allowing more teams to practice while eliminating early-morning and late-night scheduling.

The space, designed by Denver’s Semple Brown Design, is naturally illuminated during the day and lit by LED lighting in the evening, Brick entry and lobby elements and roof canopies designed to match those on the original gym are a nod to the original 1960s era gym next door.

“Public school buildings are often built based on low-cost, low-bid, bonds and industrialized design with very little architectural interest. At Kent Denver, however, we’ve discovered that we can have beautiful, highly sustainable, LEED-rated design that’s actually affordable,” said Jerry Walker, Kent Denver’s associate head. “As an example, we built our dining hall, designed by Bryan Schmidt at Semple Brown, at $196 per ft for a LEED-Platinum building.”

To assure that the project was completed on time and on budget, internally insulated tilt-up concrete panels were used for the gym walls due to their speed of erection and cost effectiveness. The building’s customized pattern of inset panels and reveals was incorporated to mitigate the visual impact of the structure’s concrete wall surface, while the sandwich panel construction contributes to the building’s envelope performance and projected LEED rating.

In addition, polycarbonate panels at the north and south facades, tuned to ensure even light distribution throughout the day, allow ample daylight to penetrate deep into the space. During the evening, when most games are played, the gym glows, a bright new campus beacon.

“Our stunning new Yates Pavilion is incredibly functional, yet was built within a very tight budget as well. We’ve learned that if you come up with the right architect and the right design, you can build interesting, sustainable architecture for the same price that others are spending for more mundane, institutional buildings,” Walker said.