At the 2021 AIA Tampa Bay Honor & Design Awards, Straughn Trout Architects was presented with a Merit Award for the AdventHealth Fieldhouse & Conference Center project in Winter Haven, Florida. Merit Awards demonstrate a commitment to excellence in architectural design.

Additionally, STA Principal Jon Kirk, AIA was recognized with an Honor Award for his individual experience as Project Architect for the Lake Crago Outdoor Recreation Complex.


Tim Hoeft, AIA, Managing Principal of Straughn Trout Architects, is one of a select group of University of Florida alumni named to this year’s prestigious “40 Gators Under 40.” The annual awards program was established in 2006 to recognize alumni under the age of 40 whose achievements positively reflect The Gator Nation. Criteria for the competitive award include making a significant impact on the candidate’s industry and having civic or professional accomplishments at the state, national or international level. 

“The word outstanding barely describes the alumni in this year’s ’40 Gators Under 40’ class. These young men and women are absolutely remarkable and have already made a significant impact in their professions and communities,” said Brian Danforth, executive director of the UF Alumni Association. “Collectively, they’re a wonderful reflection on The Gator Nation® and its potential to change the world.” 

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award recognizes graduates from all UF’s 16 colleges. This year’s honorees range from doctors and pharmacists to entrepreneurs and artists. Past award winners include meteorologist Stephanie Abrams, politician Adam Putnam and sportscaster and television personality Laura Rutledge. 

The 167-year-old University of Florida has nearly than 450,000 alumni residing in every U.S. state and in more than 150 countries. The university has a long history of established programs in international education, research and service, and is one of only 17 public, land-grant universities in the prestigious Association of American Universities. It is ranked No. 6 in the most recent U.S. News and World Report’s list of public universities. The UF Alumni Association is responsible for a network of nearly 100 Gator Clubs, is actively involved with the recruitment of superior students, and hosts outreach and on-campus programs to connect alumni with their alma mater. 


Straughn Trout Architects is pleased to share that a team of its design professionals earned first place in the McFadden Nature Center Architectural Design Competition.

“This is a great way to kick off 2021,” said Jon Kirk, Principal at Straughn Trout Architects. “Our team members dedicated time atop their workloads to collaborate and contribute their design talents on how to compose the forthcoming Nature Center.”

McFadden Nature Center - Conceptual Rendering
Front entry to the McFadden Nature Center


The McFadden Nature Center is named in honor of the late Pat McFadden, an avid outdoorsman, stock market investor, pilot, and expert marksman, whose passion for protecting native plants and wildlife is emulated in the site.


The McFadden Foundation mission is to preserve and protect the land, indigenous plants and animals and all things related to it in as good of quality as reasonably possible.


The competition challenged participants to design a Nature Center in Donalsonville, Georgia on 1,260 acres of woods and wetlands and two miles of river frontage along the Chattahoochee River. The Nature Center program components include a 10,000 SF+ Education Center; a 10,000 SF lodging area for overnight visitors; an outdoor meeting area for up to 100 people; a Great Room with displays of American animals and Indian artifacts and educational kiosks; and an Africa Room to pay homage to McFadden’s love of Africa.

Conceptual sketch of the Education Center and Lodging Area


“The design developed spatially separating the public/private spaces and focusing on the intersections of those spatial volumes, unfolding a continual exploratory experience,” said Kirk. “This initiates visitor access which continues as they navigate the rolling hills and woodlands. The structure is merely a framework allowing the visitor to become immersed into the natural settling on the gentle hills, woodlands, and river setting.”

“We incorporated an abundance of local stone and pine elements into the design, acknowledging the local vernacular. The design also features a rainwater harvesting system and rainwater gardens to enhance sustainability.”

Rainwater harvesting garden along the front entryway.


Kirk, who was also the Project Architect for Lake Crago Outdoor Recreation Center in Lakeland, stated, “it is encouraging to see communities and organizations placing an emphasis on blurring the lines between recreation, education, and native preservation. Blending facilities in such a manner enables the public to directly interact with and learn about the environment through leisurely immersion.”

Regular focused design charrette exercises such as this benefit teams in strengthening internal collaboration, communication, and design vision. Veronica Scharf at 484 Studio earned second place in the design competition. The architectural program at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in Tallahassee was awarded top collegiate honors, followed by Kano University in Nigeria and University at Buffalo, New York.


Regular focused design charrette exercises such as this benefit teams in strengthening internal collaboration, communication, and design vision.


Kirk shared some of STA’s local projects beginning construction this year including the History and Culture Center + associated renovations at Lakeland Public Library, the new Northeast Polk County Government Center in Lake Alfred, and the Apopka Service Center for the St. John’s River Water Management District.

To learn more about this project, visit:

To learn more about the McFadden Nature Center, visit:


The Student Development Center at Florida Polytechnic University was recognized by the American School & University Architectural Portfolio as one of the publication’s “Outstanding Designs” for 2020. Learn more about the feature.


During the 2020 AIA Tampa Bay Honor & Design Awards, Straughn Trout Architects was presented with the coveted People’s Choice Award for the AdventHealth Fieldhouse & Conference Center. This award is given by public vote and gives the opportunity for those in the Tampa Bay area to select their favorite project from the year in the region. 


The AdventHealth Fieldhouse and Conference Center at Chain of Lakes Park in Winter Haven, Florida

The AdventHealth Fieldhouse and Conference Center at Chain of Lakes Park, Winter Haven, Florida


The City of Winter Haven recently announced it received the “Build-It” Award from the Heart of Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association for the recently-constructed AdventHealth Fieldhouse at Chain of Lakes Park. This award is attributed to the facility’s cutting-edge innovation – providing for the needs of the local community while also serving as an economic driver. The “Build-It” Award is the second honor bestowed upon the Fieldhouse since its grand opening ceremony in January. Earlier this year, it was named “Project of the Year” by the Florida Engineering Society Ridge Chapter.


When good projects are recognized and awarded by professional organizations, we know we have really hit the mark of excellence.


“It is quite exciting to receive yet another award for significant quality enhancements in the Winter Haven community. The AdventHealth Fieldhouse is already an iconic landmark and destination for local families and athletes from around the world,” said Assistant City Manager T. Michael Stavres, who also served as the project manager. “When good projects are recognized and awarded by professional organizations, we know we have really hit the mark of excellence. The Fieldhouse serves as an additional opportunity to enrich the lifestyle of citizens, and we are proud of this accomplishment.”



The AdventHealth Fieldhouse at Chain of Lakes Park includes a comprehensive redesign of a 69+ acre site owned by the City. In December of 2017, the City engaged a team consisting of Straughn Trout Architects, Rodda Construction, and Whitehead Construction to begin the renovation of the landmark Chain O’ Lakes Complex facility. The notable expansion, now known as the AdventHealth Fieldhouse at Chain of Lakes Park, broke ground in October 2018. With a prime location along U.S. Route 17 and Cypress Gardens Boulevard, it distinguishes a primary gateway to the city – serving as a major regional destination and a catalyst for continued public and private development. The Fieldhouse design is centered around a multi-use gymnasium, a 360-degree second-floor observation area and track, meeting areas, locker rooms, a double-height entry concourse, concession space, public fitness area, and renovated portions of the existing Complex facility. The new construction added just over 86,000 square feet to the existing 56,000 square foot original building. The west side vehicle drop-off drive to enter Theatre Winter Haven is a dramatic enhancement, with a new connection corridor, box office space, and a two-story elevator lobby to improve accessibility for Theatre patrons. The Lakeland Magic will also use the Fieldhouse as their primary training facility.

“In publicly funded projects like this, the design is carefully crafted through a ‘form follows function’ approach,” said Tim Hoeft, Managing Principal of Straughn Trout Architects and Project Architect. “In our opinion, the total facility (renovated existing building and newly constructed addition) now presents a strong holistic and unified aesthetic that is both complimentary and timeless.”




The AdventHealth Fieldhouse at Chain of Lakes Park is located at 210 Cypress Gardens Boulevard and is now open to the public at limited capacity. To learn about facility rentals or general availability, please call (863) 268-6733 or visit: