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William Boyce Thompson Field House, Phillips Exeter Academy

Exeter, NH
Construction Cost: Est. $35 million
Area / Square Feet: 160,000
Occupancy Date: January 2018

The new William Boyce Thompson Field House provides a collegiate-level facility that features a six-lane, 200-meter NCAA-certified track; four indoor tennis courts; batting cages; and spaces for field events such as shot put, discus, pole vault, high jump, long jump and triple jump. The mezzanine level features a wrestling facility and multifunctional space. Designed for flexibility to maximize opportunities to engage the school community, the facility accommodates a wide range of programs.

The building complements the historic campus context and creates a forward-looking architectural expression. Material cues were taken from neighboring exposed-concrete and limestone buildings. As a cost-effective alternative to limestone, the design used large glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) panels that create a monolithic expression with GFRC “fins” that break up the long exposed east facade, casting dramatic shadows in the eastern light.

Expansive windows along the east facade fill the space with natural light and create visual connections to the surrounding athletic fields. The west facade makes use of a translucent wall panel system, bringing in diffused light. This arrangement minimizes heat gain and glare while maximizing natural light.

The LEED Gold field house was named the 2019 Building of the Year by the U.S. Green Building Council’s New Hampshire Chapter. The facility uses large-scale ceiling fans for destratification of air layers, providing a quiet, cost-effective means of cooling. A 1,500-panel rooftop solar array generates enough power to offset approximately 75 percent of the building’s annual electric load.