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Utah's Hot Attraction for 2013: The New Provo Recreation Center
by Kristen Hutchings   

The designers behind the Provo Rec Center, VCBO Architecture, promise the new center will be an out-of-the-box facility delivering an over-the-top recreation experience to patrons due to its unique design features.

The designers behind the Provo Rec Center, VCBO Architecture, promise the new center will be an out-of-the-box facility delivering an over-the-top recreation experience to patrons due to its unique design features.In developing the facility, Provo City's first concern was to find an ideal location for the rec center. Finding a location for the new facility proved challenging. Adding to that challenge, Provo's Eldred Senior Center and community center, located near 200 North and 500 West, were in dire need of updating. To kill three birds with one stone, the new recreation center will replace the two buildings mentioned and will have designated areas for those organizations within the complex.

Provo City officials hope the complex, built near North Park, will draw attention to the adjacent Veterans Memorial Pool. With a sister facility constructed nearby, the pool is sure to receive ample attention, says Nathan Leavitt, a VCBO architect.

An Emphasis on Durable Materials

Provo City Council decided to avoid the additional costs of repairing sub-par materials by investing in the best building materials. The 160,000 square-foot facility, designed by VCBO Architecture and constructed by Layton Construction, is projected to cost $35 million.

"Durability is the focus throughout the whole building. We want to be implementing things that won't cause problems in the future," Leavitt said.

The Best Indoor Aquatics Attraction in Utah

The designers have placed an emphasis on implementing the needs and wants of residents into the design of the facility. After a study, the city found many residents wanted improved indoor pools and play areas. The current Provo Rec Center has one indoor pool that offers water aerobics classes, swim lessons and leisure swimming and hosts Provo High School's swim team practices. Needless to say, the pool can get a little crowded with all of the classes and activities.

The new center will accommodate all of this with five different indoor bodies of water: dynamic slide features, an aerobics pool, a lap pool with three lanes, a competition pool and a children's splash pool with themed play features, including a lazy river. The pools are expected to be between 82 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, with the room at a regulated 3 degrees above the water's temperature. New pool technology will be implemented in the pools.

"These will be PVC-clad stainless steel pools. They are highly-functional, sturdy and user-friendly for all different types of pools," said Ellen Parrish, marketing director for VCBO Architecture.

The leisure pool will be the perfect area for both swimmers and children. Within the leisure pool is a zero depth entry pool, which gives a beach-like effect allowing patrons to run right off the deck and into the pool while little kids play safely in water less than an inch deep. That area will transition into a lazy river with a current channel, providing an opportunity for exercise, giving those who walk against the strong current an excellent workout.

The designers behind the Provo Rec Center, VCBO Architecture, promise the new center will be an out-of-the-box facility delivering an over-the-top recreation experience to patrons due to its unique design features.Just for the Teenagers

Each of these attractions hold an exciting feature that is sure to draw Provo residents to its waters, but one feature is anticipated above the others.

"The main feature in the aquatic area is a teen pool that will have a rock climbing wall along with a jumping ledge," said Leavitt. "Essentially, it will be a rock structure that comes out of a 13-foot pool. The pool will also be something that can be used for scuba diving lessons. We see this pool as one of the most unique attractions of this building that you wouldn’t see at another rec center."

The jumping ledge that stems from the rock wall simulates the experience of cliff-jumping in Lake Powell – minus the danger. "We wanted to give the teenagers something thrilling to do that's safe," said Parrish. "We know they like to do reckless things, so we want to offer a safe and fun environment for testing their limits."

Maintaining the Water Features

Though pools can be fun aspects of a facility, pool maintenance can be an arduous affair. Humidity always proves to be a rec center's Kryptonite; so proper ventilation is crucial for maintaining pool areas. Good air return is important to keep as much chemicals out of the air as possible.

"We spend a lot of time detailing finishes that will hold up to wet environments and specifying paint coatings that will resist corrosion," said Leavitt. "There are specific products that we spend time looking at and detailing, the roof trusses aren't typical, they're all pipe steel that have less surface area that water can sit on. We've gone to great lengths to try to engineer space for the pools that will be durable."

New Changing Rooms Respect Privacy

Another highly anticipated feature of the rec center is its regard for privacy and comfort with the improved change rooms. Sixteen individual change rooms, which can be used as family change rooms, will be built into the facility. Some are small change rooms; others have showers and toilets in them. Traditional locker rooms will also be built into the facility, but these will be smaller to accommodate the increased amount of family change rooms.

In Addition

The Provo Rec Center will hold three gymnasiums, one of which will be a multipurpose court with a surface liner that’s more amenable to activities other than basketball or volleyball. This area can support community events with chairs and tables. The floor will be rubber-like, making it more flexible for various events.

Six racquetball courts will be located on the first level of the facility. The cardio room will also be found there, along with an indoor track that borders the facility. Other attractions include spin classes, fitness studios for aerobic classes and a fully-equipped weight room.

The center will also have an indoor playground that will be open to the public, adjacent to a childcare facility available for patrons.

Building Sustainability

Designers really wanted the new building to have an open feel for patrons, Leavitt said. The work out spaces will be more open with many windows that will make use of natural light. The center will also make use of horizontal sunshades positioned along the southern aspect of the building to block excess summer heat and light.

"We're using a lot of insulated wall panel, like Kal-wall products, which are insulated translucent panels," said Leavitt. " Insulated products filter the southern light and provide insulated value in the winter too. It's more energy efficient than glazing."

The rec center will also implement solar tubular skylight systems, along with sustainable practices that enables the light fixtures to be controlled.

"We're basically daylight harvesting. As the light sensors pick up on a large amount of daylight entering a space, we can turn off certain bulbs in the light fixtures," said Leavitt. "We're constantly monitoring the amount of light coming in from the outdoors."

With these sustainable practices and the revolutionary aquatic attractions, the new Provo Rec Center will hit the charts in Utah, coming online in early 2013. Even those working on the project are enthused by its design elements and continually express their excitement for the new building.

"It's going to be the coolest rec center we've ever done by far," said Parrish.

Leavitt would agree. "It's going to be quite a complex once it's all complete."


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