University of Cincinnati

Sheakley Athletics Center
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When UC joined the Big East Conference in 2006, it was one of two NCAA Division I football-playing schools (out of 120) that used its game-day facilities for practices and one of two schools in the Big East without an indoor facility.

With its steadily advancing athletic prowess, UC was in dire need of updated facilities to keep pace with its athletic rivals. The only area on this landlocked campus large enough to accommodate such a facility was the steeply sloped southeast corner.

As UC alum and avid Bearcat fans, we were thrilled to provide sport planning and architectural design services for this state-of the-art sports venue that boasts a 50ft, 15,000sf coach’s tower, team rooms, press box, filming tower, and fan amenities adjacent to a full-size regulation football/lacrosse field and a half-size practice field.

Buried beneath the half field, a five million gallon water tank saves the University nearly $1 million per year in heating and cooling costs across campus. The full field protects the UC football and lacrosse teams during the off-season with a domed bubble structure from November through March.

While athletics played a significant role in program development, overall integration into the UC Master Plan was essential. Planning fell into four key challenges:

Rigid competition facility dimension specifications Full vehicle and pedestrian access that can be closed during practices and games Integration of public spaces, campus and urban framework around the facility edges A sixty-foot topographic elevation change To integrate the new fields with the rest of the campus, landscaping and pedestrian walkways peppered with the Bearcat brand converge at a central breezeway around a 15ft ferocious bearcat statue. This is the first and only bearcat statue on campus, despite its deep history with the University.

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