Central Recreation Center Debuts as Aurora’s First New Recreation Center in 40 Years

May 6, 2019

Central Recreation Center, a new recreation center in Aurora, Colorado debuted as the city’s first new recreation center in 40 years. Designed by Populous, and a thorough public input process, the $34 million, 61,250 SF facility is located in the heart of Aurora, with unbeatable views of the Colorado mountain range. Designed to be more than just a recreation center, this regional destination features first-of-its-kind amenities and fully integrated art installations.

Central Recreation Center was designed with the community in mind. Directly influenced by resident feedback and a thorough public input process, the center reflects the unique Colorado lifestyle. Three public meetings were held, drawing over 200 community members each time and allowing them to express their opinions and give feedback on the design and programming activities. This input served as the basis of design for the state-of-the-art facility resulting in one of the most prominent displays of integrated art in a U.S. recreation center, and a first-of-its-kind wave pool and interactive slide.

“The community was at the heart of this project,” said Gudmundur Jonsson, Populous Principal-in-Charge on the project. “We designed the building with the goal of cross promoting activities, making them visible throughout the center. This design allows visitors to customize their own experience, and increases user involvement across the facility.”

Drawing inspiration from the concept of movement, energy and water, the facility features both small- and large-scale innovative elements, finishes and patterns such as wall coverings, mosaic tile design, lighting and the fully integrated public art installation. The building was designed to accommodate this art, seamlessly integrating the pieces to align with the overarching theme of movement and energy. There will be a dedication of this integrated public art on May 9, during the grand opening.

First-of-its-kind offerings include a wave pool, and waterslide with interactive videos that allow visitors to customize their waterslide experience to various themes, the first in North America.  The facility also features a gymnasium, natatorium, two fitness studios, a fitness grandstand, indoor track, cooking and catering kitchen and an escape room.  It’s also home to two community meeting rooms and party rooms. Flexible outdoor spaces, including an outdoor fitness balcony with visual connections to the mountain range, offer outdoor fitness classes, including sunrise and sunset yoga.  There is a second, rentable, outdoor patio on the ground level with grills and space for private parties.

“Central Recreation Center is a building for all,” said Kendall Koca, Project Manager for City of Aurora, Parks, Recreation and Open Space. “Programming for the facility ensures that all walks of life are served, from the aquatic’s zero depth entry for the tots, to the elevated walking track for silver sneakers. I have no doubt this facility will serve the Aurora community for many years to come.”

Central Recreation Center is currently open to the public and will be hosting a grand opening ceremony May 9 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. with a formal ribbon cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. Media tours are available at 7 a.m., 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7 and Wednesday, May 8. Tours will also be available Thursday, May 9 prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.  For more information on the Central Recreation Center or to learn more about Populous’ approach to community recreation center design, contact Gudmundur Jonsson.

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