Gary Frank: Designing the Kempton Athletic Center

Gary Frank: Designing the Kempton Athletic Center

Gary Frank
The Kempton Athletic Center is the largest building project in the history of Baptist Bible College & Seminary. The $5.6 million facility, set to open in 2011, will add student recreation and training areas to the Phelps Student Center.

Putting the pieces together is Gary Frank, the lead architect for the 62,000-square-foot building. Having worked in construction and architecture for over 30 years, he brings a proven track record and experience to the project.

Frank serves as president of Elkhart, IN-based Architectural Group III, a company that has designed structures nationwide, including restaurants, hotels, schools, churches, and residential properties.

The building will make a large footprint on campus, facing the Quad and stretching past the existing tennis courts when it's finished. To ensure the facility fits in well, Architectural Group III met with many stakeholders, leading break-out groups to discuss the needs of those who will be using the new facility the most.

Frank's firm was selected because of its reputation, proven skills, and ability to be cost effective while creating an aesthetically pleasing design.

Read more In the Spotlights here.

Insight Questions

What was your role in the building design?
We were hired as the architectural firm to develop the design and construction. We worked closely with Dave Bailey of The Master's Group, who functioned as the schools construction consultant, and helped keep the project affordable without sacrificing the integrity of the design.

How did you initially determine the overall concept and look of the building?
We had two days of meetings with each of the department teams that would be involved in the building. We reviewed the architecture style on campus and met with President Jim Jeffery and his staff to understand their desires to develop a facility for the students.

What is involved in the task of designing something like this?
The architect is responsible for pulling all of the components and entities of a building into a coherent design that flows well and can be built within the budget. We design the structural systems, plumbing systems, mechanical systems, and electrical systems to ensure conflicts between the different trades do not occur.

How does this design compliment and enhance our existing buildings?
This building will be the largest building on campus. We have tried to pull in the character of BBC's older buildings while using some of the materials and economies of today's market. We are trying to blend the classroom spaces of campus and the dorm rooms into a coherent design.

What were some challenges you encountered on this project?
Usually gymnasiums become this large rectangle building with tall plane walls. We designed the front of the building and the side toward the main campus to appear as a single story structure with a series of small projections to break up a long boring wall.

Is your part in this project complete?
The majority of our work is complete, but we will remain active in this project until you get an occupancy permit. We will be answering questions to the contractors, reviewing shop drawings, and reviewing construction as the building is constructed.

What are some key features of the building?
There are several activities in this building for students. On the first floor, there will be an aerobic room, a cardio room, a weight room, and a one-ninth-mile track. There are three multi-functioning areas that could be set up for basketball, tennis, or volleyball. It will also include locker rooms and a stage area for chapel services.

There will be offices and classroom space on the second floor. There will be a gallery overlooking the gym floor, which also provides the first link in a weather-protected walkway for the students. We also have a space for a rock-climbing wall that will be about 20 feet high.

Learn more about the Kempton Athletic Center here.

Contact Information

The story of Baptist Bible College & Seminary is best told through the lives of students and alumni. Share your story and tell others how God has been leading in your life. Visit

Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers an outstanding Christian education through on campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students learn to serve and lead as they gain critical leadership and life skills. To learn more, go to or call 570.586.2400.

Posted on: 12/23/2009 1:52:11 PM

Share on Facebook