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PC West opens its third Reed design

Published May 10, 2022
"It proved one interesting project, with challenging opportunities that provided very successful results"
The court as viewed from the hospitality suite
Photos by David Reed

Putnam City West High School will open its new 50,500-square-foot arena this month, bringing another Reed Architecture and Interiors project to a satisfying conclusion.


This marks the fourth venture Reed Architecture completed for Putnam City West and the sixth for the Putnam City Schools District. These included designing:

  • PC West's athletic complex.

  • Its football and baseball stadiums.

  • The redesign/expansion of Putnam City High School's original gymnasium.


Those four projects allowed Reed’s design team to demonstrate their ability to turn significant challenges into great opportunities. The athletic complex and stadiums sat in constrained locations plagued by flooding. The existing gym required a turn of the court, a change in elevation, and the additions of a storm shelter and a new entryway, all on a very tight site the school kept in use during construction. 


"Because we creatively resolved each of these issues, from site constraints to budget constraints, and we delivered beautiful and functional facilities for the district (all completed in 2019), they requested we move right into this arena project," said Reed Architecture founder and principal David Reed. "It proved extremely rewarding, for it also presented some interesting challenges that I like to refer to as opportunities."

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The entryway

Changing building codes required PC West to provide a tornado shelter for its entire student body. Since the existing campus lacked one, the school district asked Reed Architecture to design the arena itself as a shelter for 1,800 people.


"We came up with a creative solution: to fortify the precast seating bowl to be the lid of the storm shelter," said Reed. "We turned all of its locker rooms and the coordinating spaces underneath that seating bowl into a FEMA- (Federal Emergency Management Agency) rated shelter."


Since the arena sits alongside the existing Putnam City West campus and its athletic complex, Reed's design team mixed both architectural styles in the new building.


"It blends that iconic PC West blue, a branding element that dominates the stadiums, with the color palette and materials from the existing high school campus," said Reed. "We also inserted newer technology: prefinished insulated metal panels for the exterior and interior skin of the building, along with translucent panels for natural daylighting effects. These panels help filter in good sunlight, greatly reducing the use of lighting fixtures the school needed. Our design reduced the arena's energy consumption while providing nice, even light inside the space during school hours."

A look inside the hospitality suite

The result: a combination arena/FEMA tornado shelter for the entire school population. Built by Globe Construction, the firm that also raised PC West's football and baseball stadiums, this 1,200-seat arena includes:

  • A hospitality suite.

  • Premium individual seating on the arena floor.

  • A dynamic entryway with a convenient ticket sales booth and gallery space highlighting the school's history and student accomplishments.

  • Fluid pedestrian traffic corridors.

  • Concessions area.

  • Coaching offices.

  • Meeting rooms.


"All in all, it proved one interesting project, with challenging opportunities that provided very successful results," said Reed. 


That reminded Reed of one reason why he enjoys working with Putnam City Schools. 


"Every one of these projects gave us an interesting opportunity that I feel like we capitalized on in the best possible way," he said. "We provided positive solutions that rendered outstanding outcomes for the district. They demonstrate good use of the district’s resources and provide outstanding facilities for their students."

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