San Jose-based BCA Architects announced this month that it has been selected to design a new $43 million, high-quality health club on the Cañada Community College campus in the San Francisco Bay area. The new 82,000 sq-ft Cañada Kinesiology and Human Performance Center will be both commercial and educational in nature and will showcase a " holistic fusion" of both market sectors.

The multipurpose facility center will not only benefit Cañada’s student population, but also the surrounding community as a whole. While the gymnasium, indoor basketball court, and swimming pools will be accessible to the student population for kinesiology education and sports, the fitness center portion of the building will be open to the general public for private membership.

Project officials say that allowing community members to use the health club for a fee adds a resourceful and lucrative element to the facility by creating a source of additional revenue for the college.

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Brian P. Whitmore, president of BCA Architects, told me that one of the most challenging aspects of designing the project is accommodating the public and private fitness programs that are manifest in the MediFit fitness program and the college. "We want to make the building accessible to both paid members and students alike without compromising either program or the ability to generate revenue for the District” he says.

Whitmore sees the new building as a "game-changer" when it comes to how fitness facilities are designed on college campuses. In a recent press release, he said the building uniquely offers a "great partnership between public and private entities," creating a "very open and inviting space that engages all of the different constituents within the design.”

The project, which is just completing its schematic design phase, is being led by BCA Architects, along with Santa Rosa-based ZFA Structural Engineers; Novato, CA-based CSW as civil engineers; San Jose-based AlfaTech as  MEP engineers; and Carlsbad, CA-based Aquatic Design Group for aquatics design. A contractor has not been selected yet, and the project is anticipated to be delivered utilizing a Lease – Lease Back delivery method.

The Cañada Kinesiology and Human Performance Center is slated to open in late spring 2017.

The sustainable facility, which is targeting LEED GOLD, will capture and re-use of grey water, and will employ solar panels, natural ventilation, maximization of views and thermal comfort/control of the fitness and gymnasium areas. Unlike the former center – an almost windowless block structure built in the 1960s – the new facility is structured around tapered glass paneling and a central spine of corten steel running down the middle to facilitate circulation. Utilizing glass as the primary material allows the building to receive an abundance of energy-saving natural light and opens up the fabulous views of the site’s surrounding valley.

“The glass walls and open design integrate the building into the campus,” said Whitmore in the news release. “Fitness is incorporated into the lifestyle of the campus; it’s not behind closed doors and solid walls, its open so you can actually see it. Someone working out can see the students walking back and forth to class, and someone walking back and forth from class can look up and see the people working out — so there’s this instant connection between fitness and academics as part of a healthy lifestyle.”