Award Winner - May/June 2006
Find a printable version here

Something for Everyone

Robert Livermore Community Center
Livermore, Calif.

S U B M I T T E D    B Y:

BSA Architects in San Francisco

Size: 71,000 square feet

Project cost: $17.8 million

Quick tour:

Community building
  • 1,480-square-foot reception hall
  • 6,640-square-foot divisible dining/multipurpose room
  • 1,030-square-foot commercial kitchen
  • 1,420-square-foot senior center activity rooms and offices
  • 2,200-square-foot dining room with movable partition
  • 1,540-square-foot arts and crafts area
  • 9,000-square foot LARPD District Headquarters
Recreation building
  • 13,160-square-foot dual-court divisible gymnasium
  • 2,700-square-foot locker rooms
  • 2,100-square-foot aerobic/martial-arts studio
  • 1,780-square-foot teen center
  • 800-square-foot Community Café
  • 880-square-foot child-care center
  • 660-square-foot party room
Outdoor aquatic center with two pools
  • Recreation play pool with water slide, play structure and zero-depth beach entry
  • 33-meter by 25-yard pool for competition, fitness and water polo
  • Central courtyard, gathering area and small-group picnic area
  • Sand volleyball courts and tennis courts
  • Community garden

You can't always get what you want. But the residents of Livermore, Calif., got what they needed.

In March 1999, voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of a $150 million initiative that earmarked money for area schools, the local library and a new recreation center. Recreation officials and BSA Architects began meeting with segments of the community to discuss programming options.

Residents soon came up with a wish list for the facility. Granting all their requests, however, proved to be too costly. The Livermore Area Recreation and Park District could not fulfill everyone's dreams and still meet its budget.

When narrowing down their options, the design team and district officials made sure they included opportunities and programs for all segments of their population. It wasn't an easy task given the diverse make up of the community, which draws from the local ranching, science and wine industries. To help make the final decisions, they turned to the staff to recommend which programs residents would enjoy and which ones wouldn't draw patrons.

"The input from the residents was very valuable, unfortunately the funding was not going to be able to provide everything that was asked for," says Rich Lange, community center director. "Consulting with our staff played a key role in designing the facility."

Livermore recreation officials put their faith in the right place. The 76,000-square-foot facility truly offers something for everyone. It's a multi-generational community center that boasts dedicated spaces for families teens, and seniors.Among the facility's highlights is a senior center that provides a wide variety programming spaces often unavailable to the population segment it serves. The teen center, meanwhile, was integrated with the recreation components to enhance the on-site program options. Teens have their own space—called the Elbow Room—located in the recreation building. The development of "core" facilities for both of these centers was critical to maintain their individual sense of identity and comfort while allowing these programs to expand and use common components within the shared multi-generational environment.

Families partake in a full spectrum of programs including supervised aquatics, sports and parent/child activities. A spacious ballroom accommodates large gatherings, meetings, banquets and celebrations. A platform stage was included to allow for small community theater, musical performance and serve as an elevated presentation platform.

Local residents have embraced the facility, making it the bedrock of the Livermore community. Weddings, square dances, science fairs and lunches, among other events, now take place within its walls.

"It was phenomenal how the community embraced it," architect David Ross says. "It was a very open, public design process where the community has been greatly involved. The response has been terrific."


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

Serves a broad range of community members from children to seniors while maintaining a sense of identity for each. The vernacular barn theme is interesting. Careful consideration was given to the relationship of the building to the landscape. Central control points were designed to maintain a safe environment and maximize operations.

Colleen McKenna

A S S O C I A T E D    F I R M S

Landscape architect:

Carducci Associates

Structural engineer:

KPFF Engineers

Electrical engineer:

O'Mahony & Myer

Mechanical engineer:

Lefler Engineering

Civil engineer:

Kier & Wright Engineers

Pool consultant:

Aquatic Design Group

More award winners...