Feeling they lacked access to a shared recreation center, students of the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) led a referendum to build a new recreation facility that would be funded by student fees. SmithGroup conducted the initial feasibility study that explored potential sites, programming opportunities and costs for a proprietary CU Denver facility. The team led a highly interactive engagement phase seeking input from across the student population.
Following a second successful referendum approving the project, the University selected SmithGroup for programming and design of the facility. Reflecting the unique needs of students on a commuter campus, the project expanded the role of a typical recreational center. Instead, it creates a “home base” on campus, a holistic place of respite that encompasses seven dimensions of wellness: emotional, social, spiritual, financial, physical, creative and environmental. The team created student communities for each dimension to help guide specific programming.
As a result, the wellness center includes reflection rooms, study rooms, a nap space and a game lounge, as well as more traditional recreation amenities like fitness studios, weight-training and endurance training spaces, a six-lane lap pool and climbing wall. An expansive third floor patio terrace provides an environment for outdoor activities. The building’s circulation path offers views of downtown Denver to the east and the Rocky Mountains and the Auraria Campus to the west, providing a welcoming and comfortable place that students can truly call their own.