2021 Rutgers Making a Champion Guide

A N E W A P P R O A C H “I don’t think I ever could have imagined a place like this. Just to be here makes me want to work harder.” Geo Baker, Guard ’21 In designing the APC, Perkins Eastman helped Rutgers University go beyond traditional practice facility design by creating a vibrant center of community. The APC functions as a place that synthesizes practice, training, social connectivity, and wellness into a holistic one-stop-shop. The facility supports a broad range of activities, with a mix of shared and dedicated spaces. Additionally, opening just months before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the APC’s built-in flexibility and integrated clinic has enabled Rutgers Athletics to adapt and continue practice, training, and recovery—while simultaneously serving as a hub for COVID-19 testing. The APC provides support for distinct programmatic elements in a cohesive, unified design. First and foremost of these, of course, are the practice facilities for the four athletic programs housed in the building. Each team’s practice spaces were designed with the input of coaches and staff, with an eye towards maximizing access by players and providing abundant natural light. The spaces for training, nutrition, and sports medicine received similar attention. The hybrid indoor/outdoor Strength and Conditioning Room is state-of-the-art; and large hydrotherapy facilities, with both hot and cold plunge pools, are popular with the teams. The element that sets the Rutgers APC apart from its peers is the presence of the in-house health clinic, staffed by the RWJBarnabas hospital system (the building’s primary sponsor) along with staff from the Rutgers University Medical School and hospital system. On-site medical care promotes a culture of wellness, and student-athletes don’t have to travel to remote locations across town, as they may have before. They can visit the doctor or a specialist and rejoin practice, rehab, or their locker room suite in mere minutes. Likewise, COVID-19 testing and seasonal flu-related vaccination programs are conducted swiftly and efficiently on-site, with minimal hassle and disruption. Further, all of the core building elements connect via a public “spine” of circulation, gathering areas, and outdoor terraces, which provide space for teams to socialize and intermingle. Used for both day-to-day activities (like meals and studying) as well as for special events, spaces like the Nutrition Center and Training Table provide opportunities for happenstance encounters—the kinds of interactions that can help make connections and foster a sense of community. In designing the APC, Perkins Eastman not only tapped their deep knowledge of sports facilities, but also brought in additional Perkins Eastman designers from other market sectors to add their expertise—from introducing Hospitality thinking to the first impressions of the building’s lobby, to the Healthcare practice’s insights in designing the clinic, to Workplace’s best-practices around offices and collaboration spaces. Collectively, the APC’s thoughtful organization of programmatic elements, coupled with an innovative holistic wellness approach, results in a building—and experience— that is exceptional in the realm of collegiate (and professional) sports. The study’s survey data revealed that the building’s occupants are quite pleased with the design. Eighty- three percent of the staff and 94% of the student- athletes reported that the overall design of the APC is either “good” or “very good”—with no “poor” or “very poor” responses from either group. As one student- athlete noted in the survey, “There is nothing I would change; the APC was designed to perfection.” 4 RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center Perkins Eastman