The Health and Wellness Building at the Pennsylvania State University’s Schuylkill Haven campus serves as a hub of activity for students, faculty, and visitors. Housing the campus’ gymnasium and fitness rooms, it also provides space to host meetings, health and wellness programs, and a variety of student affairs events. An earlier addition to the building provided needed improvement to the foot traffic patterns and accessibility issues within the facility; however, the flow patterns and use of spaces are still less than ideal in certain areas of the building.
We were retained to prepare a corridor access study to address these space planning issues by preparing new floor layouts for a portion of the top floor level of the building. Among other program parameters, the design was to consider the feasibility of creating a new corridor to provide locker room access directly from the elevator and lobby without requiring passage through adjacent meeting rooms, as existing conditions required. We were also tasked with determining the feasibility of using space on the upper floor level to accommodate student government activities (SGA) on campus. The design required that we analyze typical code requirements and traffic flow/egress patterns, while thinking beyond the mere numbers and assessing how the designed spaces would function to accommodate the proposed uses, and at the same time, maintain and improve functionality for all current uses of those spaces.
After several meetings with the University, we developed a program and two associated design options that achieved the desired reconfigurations within the parameters of the available space. The design provides distinct office and meeting spaces for various SGA tasks, while maintaining the function and purpose of an existing meeting room that serves as a catering staging point adjacent to two larger meeting rooms. The proposed layout would also replace the current gang shower configuration with a guest locker room and single person shower rooms accessed by a new corridor, thus providing students, faculty, visiting teams, and officials access to functional support spaces without interrupting occupants of adjacent rooms.