Proj Overview


The McNeese State University Health and Human Performance (H&HP) Education Complex consists of a new 138,000-ft2 multistory arena for the university’s athletics and health and human performance programs. General seating is 4000 seats in the main arena and 600 seats for the volleyball court. The building includes 6 classrooms, 12 faculty offices, and a sports training center that serves as a hands-on learning laboratory for exercise physiology students.

Just two years after the building was completed, Hurricane Laura made landfall in Southwest Louisiana and thoroughly devastated McNeese State University. The Category 4 storm’s wind gusts, torrential rains, and tornadoes roared through Lake Charles. The H&HP building had been designed to withstand 140-mph winds, but Laura had sustained winds of 160 mph with gusts up to 180 mph. All buildings throughout the Lake Charles area were impacted. Despite the damage sustained during the storm, the precast concrete panels performed perfectly.

Read more about this project in the Summer 2021 issue of Ascent.


The project’s participants developed a precast concrete design concept that considered the building form, exterior materials, functionality, and aesthetics. The system gave the benefits of resiliency, durability, cost efficiency, and quality control versus a wall system built on-site.


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Project Team


Randy M. Goodloe, Crawford Architects


Thornton Tomasetti


Alfred Palma General Contractors


McNeese State University

Precast Concrete Producer

Gate Precast Co.

Key Project Attributes

  • The project features an intimate setting and excellent sight lines in the arena. The precast concrete structural stadia configuration enabled the steep seating to provide the best game-day experience.
  • Precast panels worked to create a black box for the main arena, where you want controlled sport lighting for television broadcasts, the fans, and the players.” In other areas of the building, such as the practice gym, banded windows and insulated transparent panels were added to bring in natural light.
  • Every higher education and sports arena project faces tight schedules and hard deadlines, and McNeese State H&HP was no different. Coordinating with Gate Precast was critical to meeting the schedule and challenges on this complex project.

Project/Precast Scope

  • Exterior terra cotta walls
  • Exposed interior concrete wythe
  • Precast concrete used for risers inside the arena.