Central College A.N. Kuyper Athletic Complex

Project Information

  • Owner

    Central College

  • Location

    Pella, IA

  • Architect


  • General Contractor

    The Weitz Company

  • Engineer

    MEP Associates

  • Square Footage


  • Baker Group Scope


  • Year Completed


As part of Central College’s Forever Dutch initiative, the college recently renovated and expanded its A.N. Kuyper Athletic Complex – and it did it while making sure the existing gymnasium remained fully functional for students and student athletes.

In addition to renovating the existing P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium, the college created a new main entrance to the south that includes the spacious new M. Joan Kuyper Farver Atrium, named after a longtime Central trustee and donor who passed away during construction. It also includes an expanded lobby, Hall of Honor and All-America corridor. To the west, a second addition houses new varsity locker rooms for men’s and women’s squads, a larger wrestling room, and an area with batting and golfing cages.

Working in close collaboration with the college and The Weitz Company, Baker Group executed three mechanical initiatives: 1) a complete replacement of the existing building steam heating system, 2) a replacement of the gymnasium HVAC system and 3) new construction services for the new additions. It was all executed around scheduled activities throughout the facility.

Ingenuity, planning and prefabrication contain costs.

“Both the remodel/retrofit and new construction efforts called upon Baker Group’s expertise in building information modeling (BIM), prefabrication, sheet metal, plumbing and piping,” says Brandon Hummel, Baker Group Project Manager.

The previous steam heating system was not only 48 years old, but it also was inadequate to serve the existing structure as well as the two new additions. To replace it with an all-new HVAC system, Baker Group relied on 3-D site scanning and BIM to design and precision-fit into the existing mechanical room three new high-efficiency heating water boilers, heat exchanger, pumps and other hydronic specialties. The design also incorporated six new instantaneous domestic hot water heaters.

The new HVAC system included a new air handling unit, variable air volume (VAV) units and an energy recovery ventilator, which pre-treats the large amount of outdoor air required for ventilation while also recovering the energy that leaves the building in the form of locker room exhaust.  

In addition to the hot water heaters, a complete plumbing system and touchless sensor-style fixtures were installed throughout the complex.

“The majority of the mechanicals were prefabricated in our Advanced Manufacturing facility and shipped to the job site,” Hummel says. “One of the highlights of this effort was a three-story tall boiler venting cage/stack that was hoisted into place and travels down a shaft from the roof into the boiler room.

“Ultimately, Baker Group’s ingenuity, BIM, 3-D site scanning and prefabrication capabilities sped up the construction process and improved the schedule, which kept costs as low as possible,” says Hummel.

Having good information early makes all the difference.

“There were so many complexities involved in doing this complete gut and replacement of old mechanical systems in an existing and operating facility with minimal disruption – and in a very short timeframe,” Hummel says.

“Because the project team provided several options up front, Central College was able to make informed decisions and be good stewards of their donors’ contributions. And we were able to do the job as planned, on time and within budget,” he says.

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