Award Winner - May 2012
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Colorado State University Student Recreation Center

Fort Collins, Colorado

S U B M I T T E D    B Y

Hastings+Chivetta Architects in St. Louis

Size: 162,645 square feet

Project Cost: $28 million

Quick Tour:

  • Four-court gymnasium with elevated track
  • MAC gym with two basketball courts
  • Natatorium with 4-lane lap area, 35-person spa, lazy river, 12-foot climbing wall, shallow activity area, on-deck sauna and steam room
  • Two 38-foot bridged climbing towers with bouldering wall/cave area
  • 22,800-square-foot fitness center
  • Lobby with seating and smoothie bar
  • Wet classroom
  • Four multipurpose rooms
  • Spinning room
  • Martial arts room
  • Two wellness assessment/consultation rooms
  • Two massage rooms
  • Outdoor pursuits space
  • 12 outdoor lighted tennis courts
  • Men's, women's and family locker rooms
  • 10 offices, three meeting rooms, storage rooms

A complete transformation of the Student Recreation Center (SRC) at Colorado State University has turned an enclosed, lackluster space into a state-of-the-art facility that can accommodate the school's increasing student population with enhanced and new space for recreation and fitness. The project incorporated additions on the east, southwest and north sides of the SRC, totaling more than 73,843 square feet of new construction, and the interior of the existing 101,500-square-foot facility was completely renovated.

A lot of new spaces were added, including a climbing wall and bouldering area, an outdoor bouldering rock, martial arts space, special needs spaces (gender-inclusive restrooms and changing rooms), new meeting spaces, a private changing room in the women's locker room, exercise studios, MAC gym and more. A complete success, the facility has seen a 30 percent increase in usage since it was reopened.

CSU's existing recreation center was a windowless structure of 75,000 square feet, with no exterior design or image. While the building was surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, the only view of them was large photo murals inside. This juxtaposition became the drive of the design for the updated facility. Every planning decision considered capturing external views of nature and use of natural light.

Colorado State University features a distinct "Green Corridor," running east to west through the middle of campus toward the majestic foothills. The SRC intramural fields and outdoor activity spaces are an integral part of this corridor, which is also a major thoroughfare for pedestrian traffic across campus. The landscaping and outdoor "play areas" included in the design are located directly in front of the SRC entrance—sand volleyball courts, basketball courts, inline rink and 15-foot bouldering rock—clearly identifying the facility as an active, dynamic component of the campus environment that enhances connectivity within the university grounds and with other buildings.

The lobby, which formerly filled with students waiting to get through control, was replaced with a new entry and lobby with a large free zone. The entry plaza is relocated to face the campus for more convenient access. The lobby features a streetscape design with a storefront appearance for easy access to program staff and comfortable seating that creates a warm, inviting environment. Circulation linking the interior spaces was built into the design. De-constructing some of the existing facility resulted in a clear means of accessing and using facility spaces.

Materials and finishes, chosen for their durability and warmth, were used throughout the new and renovated portions of the facility. The overall effect was to blend the existing facilities with the new, unifying the entire structure without old/new demarcations. The design team's favorite achievements are the view from the fitness center to the "real" snow-capped Rocky Mountains and the University's "Green Corridor" from the climbing center.

Sustainable design was a major focus for the project, which is LEED registered and slated to receive Gold certification. The cost of energy within the new building is less than before the renovation, despite an addition of 70,000 square feet. Some of the green features include recycled content, xeriscaping, recycling of construction waste, reuse of original building components, water and energy conservation, regenerative pool filter, reflective roofing materials, low-emitting materials, certified wood, environmentally friendly refrigerants, energy-efficient fluorescent gym lighting, motion-detector lighting controls, locally sourced construction materials, green housekeeping, bike racks and more.

Other innovations include the use of inclusive language on signage to create an open, accepting environment. The facility also features a gender-inclusive restroom and changing room.


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

"The transformation is wonderful! I can see how this structure calls out to campus life and is a 'third place."

Jeff Nagel

"This project represents a successful transformation of the original, windowless building with the thoughtful placement of new building components. The infusion of natural light into the activity spaces along with views to the mountains has brought this facility to life."

Reed Voorhees

"What a profound transformation has occurred to 'what once was' on a campus so much in need of a cohesive vernacular establishing 'what is to come.' Beautifully executed inside and out."

David Sprague

"Adroit placement of program elements to visually identify the interior activities."

Amado Fernandez

"Very nice addition to completely reorient an inward facing building to add natural light. Good use of color throughout spaces. Overall, very nice upgrade project."

Howard Blaisdell

A S S O C I A T E D    F I R M S

Aquatic Consultant: Counsilman-Hunsaker

Landscape Architect: Jim Sell Design

MEP Engineer: McClure Engineering

Structural Engineer: Martin/Martin Inc.

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