Quinn Coliseum at Eastern Oregon University serves as the Arena for intercollegiate basketball and volleyball, locker rooms for outdoor sports, campus fitness center and the home of intramural sports. Quinn’s fitness center is also actively used by the La Grande community and numerous sports camps. Originally constructed in 1957, the existing structure has served the University and region well but is in desperate need of a holistic renovation to meet the needs of a modern university.
For this project, the sense of entry, wayfinding, the game day user experience, daylighting, and energy efficiency were all in need of major improvement. The centerpiece of the renovation is a new two-story entry lobby that provides a mezzanine for booster events, informal meeting spaces, and views into the main gymnasium. A new lobby stair provides a visible connection to the previously hidden second level. The design intent was to use transparency throughout the building to activate the building corridors and showcase the recreation and athletic activities within Quinn.
SERA engaged the building’s users as integral members of the design team. Early in the design process, SERA organized tours of similar facilities in the region, which provided both users and designers with a common experience and encouraged spirited discussions about the future of Quinn. SERA worked with the users to develop a clear set of goals and priorities to assist them in making difficult decisions about project scope. The project was then divided into an understandable “kit of parts” to let users arrange the program into multiple approaches for allocating the project’s limited resources. During the conceptual design phase, SERA constructed a set of color-coded blocks based on the various spaces identified in the building program. Users explored different options for programmatic adjacencies and arrangements with the blocks. The design team photographed each user group scheme and facilitated a discussion about how each met the project’s design goals. This method allowed the design team to explore more options directly with the users and reach a consensus on the preferred scheme very quickly.