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BOULDER, CO-The recently completed North Boulder Recreation Center, the first municipal recreation center in the United States to be certified by a national organization for sustainability, won the Colorado Renewable Energy Society Award for sustainability.

Denver-based Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture, which designs more community recreation facilities than any other firm in the country, was awarded the silver level of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for the project. The total cost to upgrade the North Boulder Recreation Center was $11.5 million taking the center from 31,000 sf to 61,000 sf.

The LEED standards encourage design and construction practices that reduce or eliminate the negative impact of buildings on the environment. These include sustainable site planning, safeguarding water and water efficiency, energy efficiency and renewable energy, conservation of materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation and design.

“Residents of Boulder are as health conscious as they are environmentally friendly,” says Dave Hammel, VP for Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture. “Gaining LEED certification assures them that this project was built as ‘green’ as possible.”

The facility has many sustainable features, such as a $265,000 solar heating system conserving 50% more energy annually. Thought to be the largest solar unit installed in the U.S. in the past 20 years, with 5,700 sf of collector surface, the system is expected to reduce the natural gas consumption by 50%. Low VOC emission sealants, carpet and adhesives were used in the renovation. Drought-resistant plantings and high efficiency irrigation systems were used outside the center to conserve water.

The renovation included adding an eight-lane competitive pool and a 3,300-gallon hot tub adjacent to a large family-friendly leisure pool complete with water slides. The center’s gymnastic area was greatly expanded and dance, yoga and multi-purpose rooms were added.

Alan Quiller, director of the North Boulder Recreation Center says the facility is receiving a great deal of interest from environmental groups as well as facilities managers from other municipalities. “The amenities this facility offers are also worthy of as much attention,” Quiller says. “Our leisure pool is magnificent and the gymnastic center is one of the best in the country.”

Earlier this month, the center was highlighted at the 15th Annual Recreation Facilities Design and Management School, an annual event sponsored by Athletic Business Magazine and the Colorado Parks and Recreation Association. At the school, more than 100 recreation managers and other professionals from throughout the U.S. studied recreation center design and management concepts. Nine of the 12 facilities were by designed by Barker Rinker Seacat.

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