Sipprelle Field House

St. Andrew’s School | Middletown, Delaware

St. Andrew’s School set an ambitious goal of enabling all students to participate in athletics without compromising their rigorous academic schedules. A previous comprehensive plan had located a proposed field house adjacent to the existing gyms at the front entry to the school. Their delicate and charming 1930’s collegiate gothic campus is made up of beautiful, yet small scaled, buildings. The combined desire to have a 120,000 sf facility, with the desire to preserve and enhance the existing architectural context presented a challenge. In addition, the school wanted to achieve LEED Platinum to make the strongest statement about their commitment to sustainability. To meet those challenges, to fully develop a design approach, and to figure out an achievable set of phases with manageable costs, VMA’s first step was a plan that addressed the full indoor and outdoor athletics program, a tennis complex, the complement of playing fields, parking and access. This plan expanded their existing facilities that had been constructed in two major campaigns: one in the 1930’s as a handsome and iconic gym that was well loved and the second the addition an exhibition basketball court and a smaller gym in the 1960s.

To free up land near the existing athletic facilities, the tennis courts had to be replaced. This led to the construction of 11 courts across the entry drive. With the space established for the new field house, VMA conceived of the facility pushed into the ground by 15 feet. This had the dual benefit of visually reducing the mass of the 3 ½ courts and tempering the volume with the surrounding 55 degree temperature of the earth. The Sipprelle Field House courts are supplemented by a 5000 sf weight & fitness area, rehab center, team rooms, laundry facility & equipment storage, and an elevated jogging track. The existing gymnasium was upgraded, and other existing space converted into a wrestling room.

The roof is saw toothed which provides enough north-facing light on the courts to play by day. Ample at-grade glazing provides a visual link to the outdoor playing fields from the raised jogging track around the perimeter of the gym.

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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