Award Winner - May/June 2005
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City of Fort Lupton Community Recreation Center
Fort Lupton, Colo.


S u b m i t t e d    b y:


37,800 total gross square feet

Project cost:
$5,850,000 (including site work)

Quick tour:

  • 4,060-square-foot, zero-depth-entry leisure pool with an underwater jet bench, lazy river, lap lanes, 139-foot water slide with four turns configured like two figure-eights stacked on top of the other, frog slide, vortex pool, hot tub and pool party room
  • Gymnasium with two cross-court basketball/volleyball courts that can be separated by a curtain and one regulation-size court running east to west
  • Elevated, 1/16-mile, two-lane running track circling the gymnasium and fitness rooms with same synthetic surface used in Olympic competition
  • 3,600-square-foot fitness center with circuit and free-weight equipment as well as a cardio theater
  • Additional 850-square-foot cardio balcony with 10 Spinning bikes
  • 1,250-square-foot aerobics room for fitness, Pilates, yoga, karate, tumbling and dance classes
  • 27-foot rock-climbing spiral with four custom-designed routes
  • Men's and women's locker rooms and family change areas
  • Child play room
  • Teen center with sitting area, foosball, pool table and big-screen TV

Tight budgets and stylish beauty don't tend to go hand in hand, which is one reason why the new Fort Lupton Community Recreation Center in Fort Lupton, Colo., is so impressive. The 37,800-square-foot center, which serves a rural

community of about 7,500 people 30 minutes' drive from Denver, offers guests a leisure pool, weightlifting and cardiovascular exercise rooms, indoor gymnasium/court space, a rock-climbing wall, child-care area, and teen center.

"This was our shot at a building," says Monty Schuman, the center's director. "We weren't going to be able to come back every few years and build a new building, so we knew we had to get it right."

One challenge that designers faced was the fact that the new building would have to incorporate an existing community center that already stood on the site. In that sense, the new structure could be considered an addition, although by the time construction was completed, the finished product was more than four times larger than the original, and visitors would be hard-pressed to point out where the old center ends and the new section begins.

At the same time, while designers wanted the new construction to blend seamlessly with what was already there, they didn't want to be limited by what project architect Christopher Kastelic calls the "typical concrete block and metal panels of your more traditional recreation centers" that constituted the original exterior.

"We really tried to play the interior against the exterior," Kastelic explains, describing the muted stone flooring in the lobby and the natural wood elements throughout the building.

Schuman calls the resulting contrast a success, giving the interior what he calls a refined look, "almost more like a country club."

Playful but restrained use of color—for example, the weight-training room has a red ceiling—gives the space an energetic and dynamic undertone.

Another challenge, also the result of the small town's limited spending cash, was the need for low staffing requirements. Schuman praises the open, efficient design solution Kastelic's Sink Combs Dethlefs team came up with as being effective from both a safety-monitoring and marketing point of view. There are clear sight lines and, according to Kastelic, only 10 percent to 15 percent of the building is devoted to nonprogramming needs.

"When guests walk into our lobby, they are basically seeing the facility," Schuman explains. "We can put a building attendant on duty, and they can walk in an area about 50 to 60 feet square and see everything that's going on in the whole facility."

One of the things that is going on—and one of the features that Schuman says is particularly popular—is the facility's teen center, nicely appointed for lounging and socializing with a home-theater system and soda-counter-style seating area as well as the more customary foosball, pool tables and other gaming equipment.

"There were two points of view," Schuman recalls, referring to the planners and city stakeholders. "We could make [the teen center] indestructible and just sort of leave them to it, or we could make it nice and let them know it's theirs, so [that] hopefully they'll take care of it. And so far, they have."

Overall, the whole project has made its mark in town.

"We're a smaller community," Schuman says. "People here sometimes feel we don't always get the nice things some of our neighboring communities get, so this building inspires a lot of pride. It's the signature building in the community."

J u d g e s '   N o t e s

"Climbing wall as beacon to the community is successful at night."

steve blackburn

"Great job with budget. Like rich use of color everywhere. Simple lines with variety of materials, color and glass to provide interest and visual connection into activity spaces. Like great work of minimizing circulation space and maximizing recreational value."

jim maland

"Innovative interior spaces."

patricia rotondo

A s s o c i a t e d    F i r m s

aquatic design engineer

Councilman/Hunsaker & Associates, Inc.


Saunders Construction Inc.

operations consultant

Ballard*King Associates

Landscape architect

Winston Associates

civil engineer

JVA Consulting Engineers

electrical engineer

Innovative Electrical Systems

structural engineer

Martin/Martin Consulting Engineers

mechanical engineer

The Ballard Group, Inc.

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