Award Winner - May 2009
Find a printable version here

Something for Everyone

Erie Community Center
Erie, Colo.

S U B M I T T E D    B Y

Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture in Denver

Size: 63,119 square feet

Project Cost: $17.8 million

Quick Tour:

  • Aquatics area with lap pool, leisure pool, whirlpool, two-story slide, lazy river & outdoor water feature and spray area
  • Gymnasium
  • Two-level fitness area
  • Fitness/group exercise studio
  • 32-foot climbing pinnacle & 12-foot bouldering wall
  • Elevated indoor track
  • Two racquetball courts
  • Party room
  • Childcare facility with adjacent outdoor playground
  • Indoor playground
  • Teen room
  • Senior's lounge
  • Locker rooms, including family changing rooms/cabanas
  • Multipurpose community rooms with kitchen
  • Lobby
  • Offices


ew buildings speak to the power of the ballot box as beautifully as the Erie Community Center. After Erie, Colo., voters endorsed plans for the 60,000-square-foot facility, the center became the first building in a new town center and set the architectural tone for the rest of the development. By embracing a farmhouse style and breaking the large building into smaller components, the design team created a more human-scaled expression of a community building.

The lobby spaces are designed to facilitate customer service and allow views to center activities and the spectacular Western vista. Just past the desk and easily visible from the entry area is a fitness atrium that houses cardio and circuit equipment. The center's gymnasium can accommodate two basketball or volleyball games simultaneously with the divider curtain lowered.

A running track is suspended over much of the facility area, winding from the gym and around the fitness center before re-entering the gym. Views of the mountains to the west, as well as the leisure pool, lobby and fitness atrium, provide the avid jogger with a pleasant view all around the track.

The facility's crown jewel is the leisure pool, which attracts patrons of all ages for recreation, play and therapeutic activities. A central area includes a variety of water depths, interactive play features, a lazy river and a waterslide. A smaller area provides a convenient and comfortable space for swim lessons in warm water. All pools are accessible for disabled patrons and have access to the outdoor patio, while the sun deck boasts a water feature sprayground for fun during the summer months.

"We also created a true youth fitness room that encourages youth activity through an interactive game facility," said David Hammel, a principal with Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture. "That's what sells these centers. There's something for everybody. You can't leave anybody out."

While the design team drew inspiration from the town's tradition and history, it looked to the future and saw an opportunity for innovative sustainable design elements. The center is an example of the energy savings that a facility can achieve without using energy models or expensive studies. The most significant-and immediate-savings stem from the hydronic solar collection system, which preheats all of the pool water. The system, which operates year-round, was subsidized by a grant from a national oil and gas company that has been drilling wells in the Erie area.

Several steps were taken to reduce water usage. Untreated water is used for all irrigation requirements, and drip irrigation is used wherever possible. Waterless urinals were installed in all of the public men's restrooms and two-stage flushing toilets in all of the restrooms. And finally, a new water filtration system called a regenerative media filter is used in the pool. This system reduces water usage by about 325,000 gallons per year, but did not require a backwash tank, which saved money on the construction.

"We wanted to build the center to a high degree of sustainability," said Erie Parks and Recreation Director Jill Wait. "Over time it's going to continue to be fantastic and give us less of a carbon footprint."


W H A T   T H E   J U D G E S   S A I D

Unique layout with farmhouse heritage style offers a very friendly experience. The interior reflects this with materials and lines reminiscent of farm buildings. Sustainable solutions offer cost savings in the long term, and the solar collection system and related grant for this project makes use of creative partnerships.

David Burch

Good incorporation of sustainable design features.

Colleen McKenna

A S S O C I A T E D    F I R M S

Civil Engineer:


Landscape Architect:

Winston & Associates

Structural Engineer:

JVA Inc.

Mechanical Engineer:

The Ballard Group

Electrical Engineer:

Architectural Engineering Design Group Inc.

Aquatics Consultant:

Water Technology Inc.

Interior Design:

Gallun Design

More award winners...