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The Trails Recreation Center

Centennial, CO
Construction Cost: $12 million
Area / Square Feet: 75,500
Occupancy Date: November 2004

Situated along the original pioneer trail into Denver, The Trails is the first full-service recreation facility built for the Arapahoe Park and Recreation Department.

The building’s exterior recalls the rooflines of the region’s first prairie homes, cabins and barns, and uses materials and detailing associated with early Western settlements. The extensive use of glass allows inside attractions to be viewed by those approaching and entering the building.

Guests are welcomed by a sunlit atrium structured with wood trusses and planks, and are treated to an immediate view of the water slide. Past the control desk, an overlook places observers above the 9,000-square-foot fitness floor, which offers a view to the park-like site — complete with a creek and trails — through expansive north-facing glass. The 30-foot climbing wall is positioned at the end of the atrium axis, and is showcased at night to a major roadway.

All of the facility’s components radiate away from the central fitness core and are linked by corridors that create highly charged visual connections. Among those components are a separate entry for a child-care/art center, three group exercise rooms, a lap pool, a party room, a fullsize gymnasium and a track with vistas to all recreation amenities.

Rich, earthy finishes such as dark wood trusses, slate-simulated porcelain tile and river rock reinforce the interior’s feeling of warmth and luxury, while Native American imagery is also highlighted throughout. Local plant species served as inspiration for millwork inlays, and light fixtures were selected to suggest kerosene lamps.