Sipprelle Field House

St. Andrew’s School | Middletown, Delaware

Following completion  of a campus-wide athletic plan by VMA, St. Andrew’s School sought to develop a new athletics facility that would achieve their ambitious programmatic goals, respect their institutional commitment to sustainable design, and work harmoniously with their existing campus architecture.

The design team worked with the school to establish the ideal site close to their main entry, directly adjacent to their existing athletic facilities, which meant that the large volumes necessary for a gymnasium would need to be carefully considered. By sinking the field house into the ground by about 15 feet, we were not only able to visually reduce the mass of the building but were able to temper the largest interior volume, a three court gymnasium, with the surrounding 55-degree temperature of the earth. This passive technique provides real benefits for energy usage. The roof is saw-toothed, which provides enough north facing light on the courts to play by day, in turn reducing the need for artificial lighting. An indoor jogging track runs around the perimeter of the courts at grade level, where ample glazing provides a visual link to the outdoor playing fields.

The courts themselves are supplemented by amenities like a rehab center, team rooms, and space for laundry and equipment storage. We incorporated much of the existing athletics facilities into the new field house as well: a handsome, well-loved, and iconic gym from the 1930’s was upgraded and retained, a second gym was outfitted with an exhibition basketball court, and a smaller gym from the 1960’s was converted to a wrestling room.

The project’s commitment to both passive and active sustainable design earned it LEED Gold Certification.

Landscape completed in association with Rodney Robinson Landscape Architects.


LEED Gold Certified
U.S. Department of Education, Green Ribbon School, 2013
AIA Delaware Chapter, Honor Award with Sustainable Building Recognition, 2013
Engineering News Record, Best Sports/Entertainment Project from Mid-Atlantic Region, 2012


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Size: 51,000 sf new construction; 45,000 renovation
Budget: $20 million


Architecture, Interior Design, Planning, Landscape, Sustainability

Sipprelle Field House

St. Andrew’s School | Middletown, Delaware

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