The Casa Grande Community Recreation Center has won two major awards for its design and construction.
ENR Southwest, a regional edition of the national construction industry publication Engineer News-Record, honored the structure in August as Best Government Building for the area including Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada. It automatically will be submitted for consideration at the national level as well, Mayor Craig McFarland said.
The recreation center was funded by a bond issue approved by voters in 2006, then put on hold when the Great Recession took away any money the City had to operate it, he said.
The $16 million complex, which includes a gymnasium, fitness area, two large dance rooms, a large multipurpose room that opens out to an event lawn, four classrooms, a computer lab, a teen center and administrative office space, also was recognized with the Arizona Masonry Guild’s Award for Excellence in Craftsmanship for the artistry of the 50,000-square-foot building’s brick construction.
The rec center was submitted for consideration for both awards by its design firm, Tempe-based Architekton, where the project team was led by firm principal Joe Salvatore.
He said the ENR Southwest judging committee was first impressed by the level of public input into the design of the rec center.
“The City Council from the onset directed the design team to ensure every citizen of the City had the opportunity to provide their goals and vision for the project. That was achieved through two years of community outreach at events across the City where people were gathered and at special Community Visioning Sessions dedicated to the Community Recreation Center’s design,” Salvatore said. “Hundreds of people of all ages provided input to the selected program elements at the new center specific to their community.”
The result was a center that began serving residents of all ages as soon as it opened last year, with fitness classes and other activities, community meeting space and the new home for the main branch of the local Boys and Girls Club, he said.
“Its execution and impact on the community solidified the award,” Salvatore said.
The masonry award recognized Architekton’s and contractor Haydon Construction’s use of detailed brick patterns on the surface of the building at 1901 N. Peart Road.
“Generally, buildings that house large gymnasiums are large boxes that could become an eyesore and detract from neighborhoods. Architekton skewed the building block on a diagonal bias and detailed the large masonry walls and site walls with modulating relief of varying depths of concrete blocks to soften the impact of the massive building walls,” Salvatore said.
The firm has designed several other Pinal County public buildings, including three on the Signal Peak Campus of Central Arizona College, the Casa Grande Public Safety Complex and the Copper Sky police station in Maricopa.