Award Winner - May 2012
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Fruita Community Recreation Center & Library

Fruita, Colorado

S U B M I T T E D    B Y

Sink Combs Dethlefs, Sports Architecture in Denver

Size: 55,000 square feet

Project Cost: $12.1 million

Quick Tour:

  • Two-court gymnasium
  • Full-service fitness center
  • Group exercise studios
  • Indoor leisure pool
  • Outdoor lap pool
  • Child sitting center
  • Senior activity room
  • Multipurpose community rooms
  • Catering kitchen
  • Locker rooms & family change area
  • Mesa County Branch Library (8,000 square feet)

Following a feasibility study, bond referendum and election, the citizens of Fruita finally realized their dream of building a new multigenerational recreation center within their community. Fruita went a step further to join forces with Mesa County Libraries to replace the small single room branch in the basement of City Hall with a brand-new branch library adjoining the recreation center. Both the recreation center and the library use a common entry, as well as use of the multipurpose meeting rooms, offices and restrooms, creating a more efficient building and maximizing tax dollars.

The center meets a variety of needs that were identified by the community, including an indoor leisure pool, a senior center, gymnasium space, fitness center, aerobics and multipurpose meeting rooms. The library includes a children's reading room, computer lab, periodicals section and a reading room with a fireplace that has become a favorite of Fruita's seniors.

The building's exterior combines flat-roofed forms with a central clerestory "dormer" with clear and translucent glass walls maximizing views and casting daylight into all spaces. Carefully designed to take full advantage of both interior and exterior relationships with covered porches and large windows, the new community center forms a unified civic complex and creates a comfortable social experience.

The material in both the interior and exterior were carefully selected to reflect the rich landscapes of Colorado's Western Slope and Mesa County's Bookcliff Mountains. A combination of stratified sandstone and rich colors of vegetation, the masonry and wood palette and earth tone color ranges combine to express this connection to Fruita and its rugged surroundings.

It was important to Fruita recreation staff and citizens to have a building with open views into activity spaces, and casual gathering and seating areas along circulation areas and at nodes of activity throughout the building. The organization of the building is conceptually based on the image of a winding canyon with interesting spaces created in circulation where angles intersect, widen and contract.

The project was funded through a combination of city-wide sales tax, grant from Great Outdoors Colorado, a fund that distributes lottery funds to local community projects, and a nearly $2 million grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), which redistributes energy impact taxes to Colorado communities most affected by oil and gas industry exploration and drilling. In addition, the seniors within the community recycled cans and bottles for nearly 10 years, raising almost $100,000 in funds. Through this combination of funding sources, the Fruita community was able to realize a long-held dream of a full-service community recreation center and library.

With a combination of cost-effective design, solid value engineering and quality drawings, the project bid under budget, and with few change orders during construction, another $430,000 was made available to completely renovate the outdoor pool. The original plans of repairing some equipment blossomed into a full replacement of pool mechanical systems, a repaired pool shell, and extensive decks and shade structures, for a new community amenity that only months prior seemed out of reach.


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