Eastside Recreation Center 

El Paso, Texas
Construction Cost: $40.7 million
Area / Square Feet: 101,100 SF
Occupancy Date: March 2021

In the heart of the Chihuahuan Desert, about 40 miles from central El Paso, is the Hueco Tanks — an area of clustered rock formations and petroglyphs dating back to 6000 BC. The colors, forms and light of the Hueco Tanks have sparked human creativity for centuries. 

Designers drew inspiration from the site for El Paso’s Eastside Regional Recreation Center. Located in a fast-growing part of the desert, the recreation center and water park are the first components of a 92-acre regional park. East El Paso is the fastest-growing town in Texas but is also the least developed in terms of community resources, making this project a significant milestone for the community. The first phase includes a state-of-the-art natatorium, a community center, a fitness center, a gymnasium and an outdoor waterpark. 

Modulation of the intense, dynamic desert light guided the design concept. Shade structures allow for exterior activities, providing relief from the desert sun and creating a transition between indoors and out. Inside, light enhances the vitality of people in motion. The shade structures, tilt-wall concrete, wood slats and perforated metal filter light and views throughout the interior in ways appropriate to the desert context. The north facade panels allow indirect sunlight into the building and provide relief from the potentially monolithic wall panels. 

In the indoor natatorium, a saw-tooth panel arrangement provides indirect natural light without creating dangerous reflections that might impact a lifeguard’s ability to monitor underwater conditions. At night, the south facade is animated with light in support of a city-led lighting initiative.



Dallas, Texas


In*Situ Architecture

El Paso, Texas


Aquatic Design Consultants

Louisburg, Kan.


Gymnasium/Field House/Arena - Basketball Backboards/Supports

Arizona Courtlines (ACI)

Gymnasium/Field House/Arena - Gymnastics Equipment

Arizona Courtlines (ACI)

Gymnasium/Field House/Arena - Scoreboards/Timing Systems

Arizona Courtlines (ACI)

Gymnasium/Field House/Arena - Wall Padding

Arizona Courtlines (ACI)

Locker/Shower - Shower/Toilet Partitions

ASI Accurate Partitions

Pools - Sanitization Systems

Axiall Corporation

Pools - Chemical Control Systems

BECS Technology Inc.

Fitness Center - Flooring, Aerobics

Centaur Floor Systems

Fitness Center - Flooring, Fitness Center

Centaur Floor Systems

Indoor Sports Surfaces - Track

Centaur Floor Systems

Pools - Scoreboard/Timing Systems

Colorado Timing Systems

Locker/Shower - Lockers

Columbia Lockers

Pools - Bulkheads

Composite Aquatic Innovations

Locker/Shower - Flooring

Concept Surfaces

Pools - Diving Boards

Duraflex International

Pools - Bleachers


Pools - Lane Markers

Kiefer Commercial Products

Pools - Heaters

Lochinvar Heaters

Pools - Ladders/Grab Bars


Pools - Starting Blocks


Indoor Sports Surfaces - Basketball

Robbins Sports Surfaces

Locker/Shower - Swimsuit Extractors

Suitmate by Extractor Corporation

Pools - Gutters

Superior Swim Systems