Chelsea Piers, Award-Winning Structure, A Shelter from the Storm

Children's camp during the day, adult league haven by evening—and the bar isn't even open yet.


If you were in Stamford, it would've been pretty difficult not to notice the storms that Wednesday. They were loud, they were strong and they brought a lot of precipitation.

As the afternoon turned to evening, every time it looked like the storms might be drifting off, a deep rumble acted as reminder that a downpour could again pickup at any moment.

For many, daily exercise regiments or after work activities might have been postponed. It's hard to go running in a monsoon.

, the recently-completed and at the end of Blachley Road, right next to also-brand-new NBC Sports. They broke ground back in May 2011 and just over a year later, the facility is getting packed daily while the walls still smell of fresh paint.

The building was by Norwalk Architect James G. Rogers, the —where a competitive nature on the field will be fostered in many —is already besting the competition itself.

The Excellence in Structural Engineering Award was given to the design team of design team of WSP Cantor Seinuk, James G. Rogers Architects, AP Construction and Chelsea Piers Connecticut management.

In particular, the King post trusses the team creatively put in place to hold up the facilities roof while allowing for a room the size of an Olympic swimming pool to be free of support columns was lauded by the Society of Engineers of New York, who awarded the annual trophy to the team for Excellence in Engineering for the Forensic Analysis/Renovation/Retrofit/Rehabilitation of Structures.

"This project was blessed with an innovative team coupled with a supportive and motivated owner," said Rogers. "In adaptive reuse projects like this we sometimes encounter ‘fatal flaws’ in a building. The columns could have posed such a problem were it not for the persistence and talent of the team"

During the day, children pack the facility for camp, and there's no shortage of activities to occupy them and tire them out. The building is 400,000 square feet across three stories, filled with all different kinds of activities. Two ice rinks, a football field, tennis courts, a rock-climbing wall, floor gymnastics, trampoline dodge ball courts, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and so much more. During the day kids rotate participation in each and every one of those activities.

But, while packed with youth during the day, the evening hours are more suitable for an older crowd looking to work out the stresses of a long day. Wednesday night, the facility was jumping with all kinds of adults sports leagues that were kicking off their Summer leagues and picking up steam.

On Wednesday night, several sports were kicking off their summer schedules, basketball, volleyball, and soccer among them. Soccer and basketball alone combined for roughly 300 participants for just the current inaugural seasons.

"We were opening and trying to get these rolling pretty quickly," said director of the Soccer program David Flowers. "We weren't even sure we were going to be able to do these, but the numbers have been good so far. We just want to make sure everyone's safe and having fun."

Flowers, a coach at Westhill High School,  is just one of Chelsea Piers hired with in his . Some or are even coming from national-level backgrounds.

The sports all have different levels for different players, in soccer, there were coed leagues, in basketball, more informal levels of play. There was a way for everyone to have fun and find a place to fit in. Players were also allowed to sign up as a team or as individuals and allow Chelsea Piers to handle to team assignments.

"We've got all this in one place," said Cary May, Director of Basketball. "Other places, you'd be traveling to 8 different schools in podunk towns where maybe the lights will be turned on. Here, We organize all the games here, we've got the same courts as the Charlotte Bobcats, it's a top notch facility. And the sports bar's going to be opening soon."

The Overlook will soon be a bar right in the middle of the Chelsea Piers, a place for relaxation in the middle of a hub of activity, just one more highlight of the new facility.

"We really have some pieces you just can't find anywhere else," said May. "We're really bringing the highest standards for adult leagues to Stamford."


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