Until the fall of 2016, students at Ramona Middle School did not enjoy a dedicated facility for sports and physical education. The new gymnasium is conceived as a gathering place for students, teachers, and the community to come together to celebrate athletic competition and “Vikings” pride.
Designed to accommodate a variety of sports activities, the state-of-the-art facility is equipped with telescopic bleachers than can seat up to 1,424 people. Players and spectators can enjoy games on any of 3 basketball courts, 2 volleyball courts, and 8 badminton courts in spaces deﬁned by an open-framed truss ceiling with a clear span of 120 feet. Designed in partnership with structural engineer R.M. Byrd & Associates, the ceiling is constructed of steel pipes that are aesthetically pleasing.
Campus circulation informed the siting of the gymnasium building, which has a triangular form designed to ﬁt a location at the nexus of two key campus axes. Students, teachers, and staﬀ beneﬁt from easy access to both the inner campus and the playgrounds. The triangular form also creates a welcoming plaza deﬁned by a white steel trellis system and walls covered with white porcelain tiles that, in addition to a modern appearance, are durable, low-maintenance, and resistant to vandalism.
Beyond creating an exciting physical presence for the school’s athletic programs, the gymnasium’s design implements simple, sustainable features to help reduce energy use. As an example, we employed louvered windows to invite diﬀ used light into interior spaces, thereby minimizing the dependency on artificial lighting. Louvered windows also minimize heat gain and create visual interest in the building’s façade—an excellent balance of aesthetics and function.