Essentia Health Sports Center

Brainerd, MN

The Brainerd Area Civic Center consisted of an original precast concrete structure and a pre-engineered steel addition with main floor and mezzanine levels not aligned at the same elevation. The building provided spaces for various events which include hockey, figure skating, trade shows and concerts to name a few, however there were numerous items that needed to be addressed regarding functionality, accessibility codes, flexibility, and life safety.

The overall objective was to make these two structures work together as one unit and provide the client with an accommodating multi-use facility. The end result would increase their marketability to prospective users, enhance the spectator experience, provide accessible features and plan for a potential addition that would provide additional event space in the future.

The multi-phase development process consisted of a new front addition that provided accessible upgrades, which included an elevator, accessible restrooms, exterior ramp, entrance and ticket counter. The interior remodel phase provided circulation between the two existing mezzanines that had been separated by a precast concrete wall, relocated the existing Zamboni room in an area separated from spectator circulation paths to increase life safety, increase the amount of conditioned spectator seating in the mezzanine areas and relocate the concession area to accommodate both structures from a single location to minimize equipment and staffing needs.

The existing building had little to no exterior glazing and relied entirely on artificial light for illuminating the interior spaces. The proper placement of the new curtain wall system, and its relationship to the existing exterior precast panels that were removed as part of the project, allowed natural light to enter deep within the building.

The new entry addition curtain wall system reveals the flurry of activity occurring on the inside. Installing power and data throughout the remodeled areas of the building, was an example of integrating new technology to provide the users of the building with helpful information regarding an event and an opportunity for the client to sell advertisements to local businesses.