Populous and City of Aurora celebrate topping-out ceremony at new recreation center

November 9, 2021

On Friday, November 5, global design firm Populous and the City of Aurora celebrated the topping-out ceremony at the new recreation center in southeast Aurora, signifying the final piece of the structure being secured in place during construction. Populous was engaged by the City of Aurora to design the center, a 74,500 square-foot space which is set to open in 2022 and will pair the amenities of a community recreation center with inspiration from the dynamic landscape and topography of its location near the Rocky Mountains.

Populous was selected to design a new recreation center that respects, celebrates and participates in its site, while also fulfilling the necessary requirements of operational efficiency, cost-effective design and betterment of the community. The project is the second ground-up recreation center constructed in over 40 years for the city — Populous also led the design of Aurora’s Central Recreation Center, awarded the Engineering News-Record Best of the Best Sports/Entertainment project in 2019.

“We’re thrilled to work again with the City of Aurora to create another unifying space for the community,” said Gudmundur Jonsson, senior architect and principal at Populous. “This center will serve the people of Aurora in various ways, through the design that brings in the views and influences of its location and its state-of-the-art amenities, to its efficiency, operations and innovation to enhance experiences for those who live and work in Aurora.”

  • The center's interior features various fitness areas, including an elevated track that incorporates changes in elevation, as well as lounge space and stunning views of the local terrain.

Using resources like natural Douglas Fir structure and decking, the structure will mimic the landscape of a canyon, with a large open entryway that spans the length of the building, providing expansive views through a glass curtainwall to the Rocky Mountains. An elevated running track will extend from inside the gym out into the canyon entryway and along the curtainwall, incorporating changes in elevation throughout the loop. This path symbolizes a journey through the terrain and provides a unique exercise experience. The fitness area will include a patio and garage door opening to outdoor training areas, creating a further link to the landscape. In addition to the gym, track and other outdoor fitness areas, the recreation center will also feature a fieldhouse, pools, community spaces, various indoor exercise areas and lounges in its amenities, creating a space fit for all families and residents.

“I’m thrilled with the progress being made at the southeast recreation center. The planners and architects really listened to the community to create a design compatible with the natural setting, that takes advantage of the mountain views, and offers the activities that are so popular with families in our neighborhoods,” said City of Aurora Mayor Pro Tem Francoise Bergan. “I can’t wait to go down the water slide and jog on the elevated running track. It’s going to be a beautiful amenity for our residents.”

For more information, please contact Populous Senior Public Relations Coordinator Claire Kramer.


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