Feature Article - July 2013
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Multipurpose Means Healthy Living

How Flexible Facilities Promote Community and Wellness for All

By Jessica Royer Ocken

Also, remember the previously mentioned tension that can occur between user groups. Young children may need spaces designated particularly for them, and seniors may feel more comfortable in a space all their own, Springs noted. When there's a senior center as part of a recreation facility, some areas should be for them only, but then they can use the pool or workout facilities or whatever else they'd like to in other parts of the building. "You don't want people stepping on each other's toes," Larson said. At the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center, a project TMP Architecture worked on in Dearborn, Mich. (see sidebar), "each component has a discrete entry point, but there's also a central piazza that unifies the whole facility." You want to maintain control, he said. "Along with transparency and a friendly entry point, it's important that people feel safe. You want them to see what's going on and know it's safe and secure—without being a prison."

So whether you're contemplating new construction or looking to revitalize a structure already in place, look toward a healthy future and make your multipurpose recreation facility the heart of your community—a place that attracts people of all ages and all fitness levels and gives them a reason to stay.

"This trend is an outgrowth of societal evolution toward living better," Larson said. "Communities are embracing these ideas, and with that support, the buildings get better and better. They're an important part of the community fabric."