The Student Recreation Center at the Colorado School of Mines responds to the needs of a growing coed student body, as well as Ore Digger student-athletes. The new center includes a versatile competition/practice gymnasium, a separate recreation gymnasium, multiple fitness areas, a climbing wall, an indoor competition/recreation pool, student and team locker rooms, offices, outdoor recreation program headquarters, multipurpose meeting rooms, and casual lounge spaces distributed throughout the facility. The decision to include the 2,500-seat Lockridge Arena was made late in the design process and created budget challenges for the project team. Thus, the building design focused on economical construction details and materials.
A central circulation axis serves as a connector between student housing and the central campus, anchored at its east end by the climbing wall tower and dramatic entry lobby. The tower is also a focal point from the west entrance, as seen at the end of the long axis. A large atrium opens up the center at the axis midpoint, introducing daylight to many of the recreation areas and affording visual connections between a juice bar, the arena lobby and the recreation lobby.
Colored masonry units and exposed steel combine to break up the building’s massing, and students are directed by curved entry elements that also serve to reduce scale. The mass of the arena stair tower is likewise reduced by a curved design, and the curved expression of the exterior is repeated in forms found at the concessions stand, entry desk and in a wood canopy over the juice bar.