Editor's Desk - May 2012
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In May, spring takes its hold on the landscape, and everything blooms and buds. Birds and bees do their bird and bee things, and the days grow long, longer, longer (but not longest until next month). And, just as nature puts her green thumbs into play and replenishes everything that spent the winter under wraps or in gray dreariness, we here at Recreation Management set our sights on facilities that are newly enhancing their communities.

Yes, it is May again, and that means you're reading our annual Awards Issue, when we recognize and reward some of the most innovative recreation, sports and fitness facilities with the Innovative Architecture & Design Awards. Every year brings a new round of entries. I've been reviewing the entries and reading the judges' scorecards for five years running now, and it's interesting to see things change—as well as which things never seem to change.

One change I've noticed over the past couple of years is in the types of facilities being submitted. We're seeing a lot more renovations and additions, while fewer brand-spanking-new structures are offered up for the contest. This change is simple enough to explain, as the economic downturn is still having a negative impact on state and local budgets.

Of course, that's not to say there are no new facilities. There are plenty, ranging from some impressively large and complex recreation centers serving universities and municipalities to small, but still outstanding, projects.

Turn to page 20 and start reading and you'll soon see that of the nine winning projects, four were additions and renovations to existing buildings. At Colorado State University, an existing windowless recreation center was transformed into a light- and activity-filled space with views to the Rocky Mountains. The University of Florida's Southwest Recreation Center also saw a dramatic facelift, with a new art installation emphasizing the importance of water conservation. Illinois State University's McCormick Hall was grown into a street-spanning, impressive fitness and recreation facility that connects the campus quad with Normal, Ill.'s Main Street. And at the Lynnwood Recreation Center in Lynnwood, Wash., patrons can still enjoy the unique indoor-outdoor experience of the pool, but without the downside of energy and resource loss associated with the former canvas roof.

At the same time, other winners celebrate all that brand-new construction can do, from the beauty of the new Wellness Center at the University of South Dakota to the simple elegance of the new Visitor's Center at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Connecticut. Princeton University has a streamlined tennis pavilion that provides an excellent vantage point for spectators and coaches, and Denver's latest recreation center in Central Park provides a beautiful connecting point that extends the fitness and recreation inside out to the park and trails that lie at its doorstep. And at Ithaca College, a new Athletics & Events Center celebrates the breathing, moving athlete with a creative pinnacle that allows the building itself to breathe as it moves air in and out.

And, of course, that's not all. The winners are followed by pages of highlighted facilities, each of which brings something new and unique to the recreation, sports and fitness landscape.

To our winners, we say, Congratulations! And to everyone else—including you—we offer kudos for continuing to innovate and provide new ways for people to experience everything—improved health and fitness, fun times with friends and family, learning and exploration, friendly or fierce competition, and so much more—that this industry has to offer.


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,
Recreation Management