Project File: Former gymnasium becomes new campus center

Feb. 1, 2002
Davidson College, Davidson, N.C.

Recently completing a $10 million renovation of a gymnasium originally built in 1948, Davidson College, Davidson, N.C., faced a dilemma of how to satisfy the need to preserve the historical structure's significance and campus nostalgia, while making it a viable campus center.

Over the past 40 years, Davidson's gym had only been used for the pool on the basement level and for recreational sports. After its defeat of NCAA's No. 1 ranked Wake Forest in 1964, basketball games were moved to nearby Charlotte.

In 1998, the board of directors gave authorization to convert the Johnson Gymnasium into a new campus center with a clear vision for the new facility — it was to serve as a gathering place where students and professors could interact outside the classroom, while feeling a sense of belonging.

It was decided to keep the brick exterior shell of the building intact, keeping the nostalgia of the building. Interior plans for the three-story building included mixing the exposed brick on the outer walls with a contemporary color scheme. Each of the top floors incorporated a colorful, metal balcony overlooking the first-floor lounge area. Named for a major contributor, the renovated building is called the Knobloch Campus Center, and now includes a performance hall and student union. It also includes common areas, a coffeehouse, cafe, reception area, campus mailroom, as well as offices and multifunctional meeting rooms.

Construction began in early 1999, and the project experienced only minor delays due to a shortage of steel. The project was completed last May.

Architect for the project is MacLachlan Cornelius & Filoni (Pittsburgh).

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