Award Winner - May/June 2006
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Hill Tops

Cedar Hill Recreation Center
Cedar Hill, Texas

S U B M I T T E D    B Y:

F&S Partners, Incorporated in Dallas

Size: 54,000 square feet

Project cost: $7.2 million

Quick tour:

  • 14,000-square-foot, two-court basketball gymnasium
  • Three-lane running track (1/12th mile)
  • 4,000-square-foot weight and fitness room
  • 2,000-square-foot aerobics/dance room
  • 1,100-square-foot youth activity room
  • 800-square-foot children's activity room
  • 5,600-square-foot meeting room divisible into four
  • 500-square-foot commercial kitchen
  • Locker rooms
  • Lounge
  • Administrative office suite

It's said that they do everything bigger and better in Texas. And the Cedar Hill Recreation Center seems to back up that claim.

The 54,000-square-foot facility proves the town's dedication to healthy living while paying tribute to the local landscape. Two volunteer boards, in cooperation with the local parks and recreation department, worked together to make this community dream a reality.

"This was an extremely positive project from the very beginning," says architect Anita Moran with F&S Partners, Incorporated in Dallas. "There was a lot of good energy and support from the client."

The $7.2 million recreation center—which was funded through sales-tax revenue—was designed to be open and inviting. It boasts two entryways, each serving very different needs. The primary entrance faces the plaza and is intended to be the access point into the recreation center during normal hours of operation. A second entry permits a meeting room wing to function independently of the fitness component.

As guests approach the building, large window openings provide glimpses into the activity spaces. From the two-story lobby, patrons have direct access to the control desk and views of the gymnasium, youth room, running track and weight/fitness room.

The track and weight room overlook the future natatorium, which will contain leisure, lap and therapy pools. The existing locker rooms also can be expanded to provide a wet side entry to the aquatic area.

"We didn't want a traditional recreation center, where people feel like they're working out in a box," says Steve Meadors, Cedar Hill Parks and Recreation director.

To better appreciate the building's design, one must understand the region. The city of Cedar Hill, a town of about 43,000 in south suburban Dallas, considers itself "Hill Country" because of its rolling terrain and rocky outcroppings. The recreation center sits on a plateau, creating a stunning view for patrons.

"When you go upstairs or workout on the track, you have three sides that provide panoramic views," Meadors says. "You forget what you're doing. It makes exercising easier."

The city also has a rich agricultural history that influenced the simple building forms.

The building's exterior is light in color with a beige brick to match Texas limestone accents. Galvanized metal roof and wall panels add to the rural aesthetic of the building. Extensive use was made of glass window walls and translucent wall panels to maximize natural light within the facility and to help reduce lighting energy costs.

"Cedar Hill has a farming and rural heritage that we all wanted to be expressed," Moran says. "Cedar Hill is remarkable, and because it is such an incredible city, there are positive vibes everywhere."


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

Well-needed activity space to support the city's desire to promote a healthy lifestyle. Clean bright interior spaces. I like how the shape of the roof structure plays into the meeting rooms. The barn theme, mix of building materials and roof forms complement each other. Well-detailed vernacular building.

Colleen McKenna

Nice honest approach to volumes, massing and detailing. Great solution for budget.

Kenneth J. Ogden

A well-thought out and well-executed project. It projects a sense of quality and warmth that is very pleasing to the eye. It takes advantage of its setting to play up its 'hill country' aesthetic.

Greg Garlock

Wonderfully open, bright and comfortable. Use of wood, slate and yellow tones is very appealing. Very nice site fit, orientation to pond and open space is very successful. I like the gracious entry plaza and sequence. Very nice expression of structure and material. Good use of 'honest' materials without unnecessary adornment.

Chris Kastelic

A S S O C I A T E D    F I R M S

Landscape architect and civil engineer:

Halff Associates

Structural engineer:

Brockette Davis Drake

Electrical/mechanical engineer:

Blum Consulting Engineers


Cadence McShane Corporation

Owners representative (project manager):

Freese and Nichols, Incorporated

Kitchen consultants:

H. G. Rice and Company, Inc.

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