Ayres contracted with Eau Claire Community Complex (ECCC) to design the 231,349-square-foot County Materials Complex on the former County Materials Corp. site between Menomonie Street and the Chippewa River in Eau Claire. The land was donated to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire by alumni John and Carolyn Sonnentag as the site for a 172,502-square-foot event facility, a 100-yard fieldhouse, four sport courts, UW-Eau Claire wellness and recreation facilities, and a Mayo Clinic Health System sports medicine and imaging clinic.
Ayres’ involvement with the project began with providing ECCC general site planning, environmental evaluation, and conceptual-stage architectural services for the events and recreation complex. The Sonnentag Events Center will hold events such as Blugold athletics, regional athletic competitions, concerts, tradeshows, and conventions with a capacity for 5,000. The size and capacity of the events center is based on a market analysis comparing the Eau Claire market to venues in similar-sized Midwest cities. The potential market is approximately 330,000 people within a 60-minute drive of Eau Claire.
The fieldhouse will be 80,877 square feet and will have artificial turf suitable for athletic, club, and intramural sports practices.
The two-story, 15,291-square-foot UW-Eau Claire Center for Health and Wellbeing will be a fitness and wellness facility incorporating strength and cardio training along with group exercise opportunities for students.
The Mayo Clinic Health System Sports Medicine Center will provide sports-related injury diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation; performance training; nutrition assistance; counseling and academic support; and research in cooperation with UW-Eau Claire.
Ayres provided planning services including identifying and analyzing requirements of governmental authorities with jurisdiction to approve the project, evaluating the site’s flood status, analyzing the participating institutions’ program needs, and providing site development options and comparative studies for each alternative. After meeting with planning staff from each organization, Ayres developed a 3-D building model of the conceptual arrangement of the various elements of the overall building. This building model was applied to the site, and alternative circulation and parking scenarios were developed.
A robust 3-D fly-over animation and renderings were then developed to convey the large-scale design to potential donors, the media, and the public.
The events center calls for a versatile design to accommodate multiple types of events and activities, including serving as a home for UW-Eau Claire men’s and women’s basketball games, men’s hockey games, athletic tournaments, large indoor concerts, festivals, and conventions.
The new events center’s location near Hobbs Ice Center, the John & Fay Menard YMCA Tennis Center, and Carson Park creates an appealing recreation and events district that will further advance the value of the development and its benefit to the community.
Services Ayres provided during the early stages of the project included environmental and grant services, which began with conducting asbestos and lead based paint assessments, hazardous materials surveys, and Phase 1 and 2 environmental site assessments/site investigations at the former County Materials and Student Transit sites along Menomonie Street.
Ayres wrote EPA cleanup grant applications and analyzed brownfield cleanup alternatives for the County Materials and Student Transit sites. We assisted with a successful application for a $500,000 Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Idle Industrial Site Redevelopment Grant and a $400,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant to be used for remediation and demolition at the former County Materials and Student Transit properties.
This project features a significant commitment to sustainability in general and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards in particular, including the following:
Mechanical building system to include 200 geothermal wells using naturally existing ground source heat to warm and cool the building
Removal of 80% of total suspended solids from stormwater runoff
Ten electric vehicle charging stations (with plans for more in the future)
Heavy use of native plantings and non-irrigated landscape
Over 30% indoor water use reduction
Over 50% outdoor water use reduction
Anticipation of over 75% diversion of construction waste from landfill
Fully electric building that will not consume fossil fuels
LED lighting throughout facility
Partnership with Xcel Energy to provide 100% of facility’s power from local off-site solar plant