Sumers Recreation Center

Washington University – St. Louis, Missouri

Project Background

The Francis Gymnasium was completed in 1903 by the Olympic Games Committee and was used in the third modern Olympic Games, the first Olympics held in the western hemisphere.

After the Games completed, the committee turned this three-story, multilevel building over to Washington University in St. Louis to be used for the department of athletics. In 1925, the Field House was constructed as a stand-alone building adjacent to the Francis Gymnasium.

The balance of the existing athletic complex was constructed in 1985 and included the creation of a concourse that connected the Francis Gymnasium to the Field House.

A growing campus attendance and thriving athletic programs required a new facility to be developed, the Sumers Recreation Center. The new building was constructed at the location of the existing Francis Gymnasium.

Project Deliverables

To blend the old with the new, the original entrance façade was preserved and is now utilized for the public entrance of the facility. The Sumers Recreation center was developed for both the varsity athletes and intermural sports as well as provides a state-of-the-art fitness facility for students and staff. These amenities include a three-court gymnasium, fitness/cardio area, running track, meeting rooms, offices, locker rooms, and multi-purpose rooms.

Additionally, this project included the design and engineering of local and distributed video and audio systems to serve a divisible meeting/classroom, spinning room, and exercise/multi-purpose room, along with public address and performance gymnasium sound systems to serve the university athletics program. Additional interfaces were provided to tie the paging system and local audio-visual systems into the existing emergency mass notification system.

Bidding the project in phases was necessary to not only guarantee that the athletics facility would be available for students and staff to use throughout construction, but also to expedite construction for completion in advance of the 2016 presidential debate held at the university.

With multiple design phases bid and constructed by different contractors, there is a greater for gaps to occur. The design team worked to make sure the gaps were covered between packages and that the project was delivered on time and on budget.

Phase 1 of the project relocated utilities both inside and outside the facility to allow students and staff to access the health and wellness amenities throughout the year without any interruptions.

Phase 2 of the project included the construction of the underground mechanical and electrical vault that supplies utilities for the athletic complex.

Phase 3 of the project included the construction of the building, renovation of the original Francis Gymnasium front façade (referred to as the portal), and interconnection with the existing athletic facility. Due to the landmark status of the Francis Gymnasium, extra care was given to the preservation of the existing façade and the alignment of the existing floors with the construction of the new building.

Additionally, the third phase was delivered using a “design assist” approach. The contractors provided both mechanical and electrical estimating services at both the 30 percent design development and construction document milestones.

The design team completed the full design but collaborated with the design assist contractors between 30 percent to 100 percent construction documents. During both cost estimate exercises, value engineering was conducted before the project was completed with design. This would ensure that McClure could deliver a project that fit within budget tolerances.

All design for the final phase of the project was completed using Revit, which was heavily relied upon to make use of the limited space available for routing piping, ductwork, fire protection, electrical, etc.

Architect Of Record

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Construction Cost




Market Sector

College & University

Year Completed




Our Services
McClure Mechanical services
McClure Electrical services
McClure Plumbing services
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McClure Acoustics services
McClure Audio Visual services

Keith Cooper, P.E.