AKA: Whitman College, Sherwood Athletic Center, Walla Walla, WA

Structure Type: built works - public buildings - schools - university buildings; built works - recreation areas and structures - gymnasiums

Designers: Adkison Architects (firm); Weinstein Architects + Urban Designers LLC (firm); Matthew Clarence Aalfs (architect); Thomas Reed Adkison Sr. (architect); Edward Weinstein (architect)

Dates: constructed 1967-1969

total floor area: 65,000 sq. ft.

47 South Park Street
Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA 99362

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Building History

Donald Sherwood was a 1922 alumnus of Whitman College; the college spent $1.6 million to erect the 65,000-square-foot building. Architect Thomas R. Adkison designed the Sherwood Athletic Center for a small site, and therefore put most of its facilities underground. It had a reinforced concrete structure and tilt-up concrete walls. Work began in 1967 and a part of the building had been completed by 12/07/1968, when the first event occurred, a basketball game against Northwest Nazarene College. Work was finally completed on the whole gym by mid-1969, and the Sherwood Center received its formal dedication on Homecoming Weekend, 10/1969.

Building Notes

The building commemorated the manifold activities the real estate developer Donald Sherwood (d. 1994) undertook on behalf of Whitman College. A 1922 graduate, he served as an important fund-raiser, particularly during the difficult 1930s, and trustee for 72 years. Sherwood and his wife, Virginia, also donated $10 million themselves, and deeded their residence to the college, which has reused it as its President's House.

Tel: 509.527.5921 (2016).


This athletic center underwent a $1 million renovation in 1997.

It also had a renovation completed in 2009. Seattle's Weinstein A + U, Architects + Urban Designers, LLC, supervised the latter renovation. The Whitman College Athletics Department discussed the changes to the Sherwood Center in a press release of 09/27/2013: "A $15.5-million renovation in 2009 upgraded the interior and exterior of the facility and replaced an outdated swimming pool with a much needed multipurpose gymnasium. The 71,000-square-foot Sherwood Center also features a stunning, state-of-the-art indoor climbing wall, team locker room space for varsity programs, and larger, modern athletic training room facilities. An innovative new digital video editing and viewing room, named in memory of former athletic director and baseball coach Max Seachris, uses biomechanical software to help train athletes in proper movement mechanics.The Seachris video room, features two computer work stations, large-screen television and a surround-sound audio system, and is used in the opposition scouting process as well as for biomechanical analysis. The main gym, which can seat close to 2,000 fans for basketball and volleyball games, was upgraded during the renovation process. The floor was resurfaced and repainted, and the sound system and scoreboards were replaced with higher quality models. Sherwood includes two classrooms, including one wired for the latest video and audio technology, and triples the number of dance/exercise rooms from one to three. Also, the building features four racquetball and two squash courts (all resurfaced) and a strength and conditioning room that is specific to team-wide training for speed, quickness and agility. New skylights in the roof of the multipurpose gym, along with one large skylight in the center of the building, illuminate those spaces naturally, requiring less energy use. The brick exterior not only makes the appearance of Sherwood more consistent with other buildings on campus, but it also adds to energy efficiency – layers of insulation were added between the brick façade and the existing concrete walls." (See Whitman College, Athletics Department, "Sherwood Athletic Center," accessed 08/03/2016.) The Whitman web site indicated that the building contained 71,000 square feet in 2009, up from the original 65,000.

PCAD id: 7750