In recent years, flexibility is a concept that’s proved especially useful during pandemic life.
Instead of finding the need for flexibility after the build, architects today point out ways in which intentional multi-use facilities can deliver more for schools, athletics programs and communities.
In Victorsville, Calif., Victor Valley College wanted to get in front of any possible pushback on a new stadium.
“They thought they would get some pushback if they just built the stadium, so they built the stadium and we combined it with, really, a conference center,” says Arash Izadi, LPA’s director of sport and recreation. “They call it an educational center, but it takes the stadium component and ties it to a bunch of conference spaces and things like that. So, when they sell it, they’re selling it as classrooms, a revenue-generator facility, a stadium, an alumni facility.
“In Victor Valley, here’s a small college, they’ve got a decent football team, they don’t even have a track team. So how do you build that stadium?” Izadi asks. “It is something the students will use, but how do you get the community to support the idea and spend $35 million on this facility? Well, you turn it into a multi-use facility that serves more than one need.”
By combining purposes, Victor Valley College was “able to go to the community and say, ‘Look, we’re not just building a stadium, we’re a stadium and an education center,’” Izadi adds.
However, in Texas, where LPA has designed many projects from its studio location in San Antonio, things just got a little tougher when it comes to greenlighting a sports project with public funds.
“You can’t really build dedicated athletic facilities anymore,” Izadi says. “Sports are huge in Texas, but there’s still these organized groups that are really fighting that. So there was legislation that was passed that you can no longer take bond money that’s passed by school districts and spend that on athletics, unless it’s specifically targeted for athletics. You can’t have a combined bond anymore, you have to have a separate bond for your educational facilities.”