Forest County Potawatomi Community Center Receives Facility of Merit Design Award

October 11, 2022
Architecture Experiential Design Public Art Sports

Designed by RDG, the center was recognized by Athletic Business Magazine as one of the 10 most innovative athletic, fitness and recreation facilities in North America.

The Forest County Potawatomi Community (FCPC)’s state-of-the-art community and recreation center in Crandon, Wisconsin has been recognized by Athletic Business Magazine with a 2022 Facilities of Merit Award. Designed in collaboration with RDG Planning & Design, the community center was selected from more than 50 submissions featured in Athletic Business’s June Architectural Showcase issue; its designation as a facility of merit signals the center as one of the most innovative athletic, fitness and recreation facilities in North America.  

The Potawatomi Community Center, which opened its doors in August 2021, serves as a hub for cultural education, recreation, athletic training, wellness and community events. RDG’s team worked closely with tribal leaders to develop a design that is both culturally significant and programmatically appropriate, weaving natural imagery into the building’s interior and exterior elements. The catalyst for building a new community center was the tribe’s need for a space where children of families impacted by drug and alcohol addiction could come and focus on wellness, education, rest and connection.

A gymnasium with spectator seating for up to 1,500 spectators.

“A big driver of the project was to create opportunities for fitness, wellness and recreation, but also for cultural learning and understanding,” said RDG Partner Blaine Perau, AIA. “We’re honored that tribal members and leaders trusted RDG as a partner on this important project, and proud that the resulting design has been recognized by Athletic Business for its impact and significance.”   

Located on the Tribe’s reservation land, the community center incorporates facilities for training and competition in multiple sports and offers dedicated space to host tribal events such as pow-wows and banquets. Encompassing 110,000 SF of new construction, the community center houses a 20,000-SF wood court gymnasium with seating for up to 1,500 spectators, a 20,000-SF synthetic turf fieldhouse with an elevated jogging track and an 8,000-SF recreation and training pool. RDG’s design also incorporates multiple educational and support spaces, including a classroom, fabrication lab, woodshop, teaching kitchen, game room, pediatric therapy suite and a childcare suite. The central spine, or body, is a two-story gathering space that acts as a connector between the flanking gymnasium and turf fieldhouse, or wings.

“This is an exciting project not only for Potawatomi, but for our whole community,” said FCPC Chairman Ned Daniels, Jr. “There is no other facility like this in the Northwoods, and I’m beyond happy to welcome the entire community to experience the positive things it has to offer.”

As a facility of merit, the Potawatomi Community Center will be featured in Athletic Business’s October print issue and at the AB Show 2022 in Orlando, Fla., and celebrated at a special awards reception in November.

Written by Erin Van Zee, Communications Director