DAF – June Hard Hat Tour University of Colorado Boulder Recreation Center Expansion & Renovation – Recap

University of Colorado Boulder Recreation Center Expansion & Renovation Wednesday, June 04th, 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

CU Boulder - Rec Center_
Rendering courtesy of Davis Partnership Architects

Owner: University of Colorado Boulder
Architect: Davis Partnership Architects and Cannon Design
Contractor: Saunders Construction
Mechanical/Electrical/Lighting Engineer: RMH Group

Please join us on our next hard hat tour! Meg Rapp, Architect with Davis Partnership Architects, will lead the tour of the student recreation center at the University of Colorado. The Recreation center was considered a state-of-the-art facility when it was built in the early seventies.

photo 1

Yet an ever-growing student population had resulted in a 30 percent deficit in square footage per student based on NIRSA guidelines. A student referendum provided $63 million for an expansion and renovation project, and the University chose the collaborative team of Davis Partnership Architects and Cannon Design for expansion and renovation. Both firms worked with students and the center’s staff to design a facility appropriate to a major university in an active, health conscious community.

photo 2

The goal is a recreation experience with multiple amenities in a highly sustainable building with LEED Platinum certification; a tall order for a 215,000 square-foot facility built forty years ago.

photo 4 (2)

In the area of sustainability, a solution to resolve persistent condensation problems resulting from the second floor ice rink was to build a new rink at grade. The new ice generation system distributes the waste heat through a recovery loop to heat the Center’s indoor pool, preheat domestic hot water, serve the building’s hydronic heating loop and other heat pumps before rejecting excess heat to warm the new outdoor pool. This and other critical design solutions have so far brought the annual energy utilization down to below 34,700 BTU/SF.

photo 4

Three separate additions total 93,000 square feet and have provided additional wood courts and fitness/cardio space and a weight and fitness addition with a new main entry, which imposes greater order to this sector of the campus by defining the edges of two quadrangles in a contextually respectful manner. A new outdoor pool in the shape of the University’s Buffalo mascot has southwest exposure, while a three-story climbing wall capitalizes on an existing precipice on the north side of the building. Internal re-organization and an invasive third floor addition through the main circulation area enliven the once dreary interior with daylight, movement, color and a greater sense of activity. This is truly a facility in step with today’s collegiate level needs. description courtesy of Davis Partnership Architects

photo 2 (2)

The energy used in this recreation center is about 1/5 of the energy used in a typical recreation center. Bill Green, President of the RMH Group, was quoted saying “The CU Recreation Center will set a new world-class standard for recreation centers energy efficiency.  This building will achieve an unheard of 35 kBtu/square-foot/year Energy Use Intensity (EUI) compared to conventional recreation centers use of 150 kBtu/square-foot/year, even though it contains three pools, saunas, and an energy-intensive ice rink.  Every Btu pulled from the ice rink to make ice will be used somewhere in the building, first for domestic hot water heating, second for building heating, and third for pool heating.  It will also save 850,000 gallons of water per year by eliminating the need for conventional cooling towers.”