New Student Recreation Center Underway at UCR

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The University of California, Riverside (UCR) is embarking on a $32.5 million project that will expand and modernize its recreation center on campus.

Los Angeles-based general contractor C.W. Driver has recently started construction on the new student recreation center, which involves 9,000 square feet of renovations to the existing recreation center and more than 80,000 square feet of new construction in order to expand its offerings to the university community.

The project is targeted to receive LEED Silver certification and construction is slated for completion in January 2015. The Los Angeles office of Cannon Design served as the architect for the project. The design expands the university’s existing recreation center, giving students access to new and improved fitness and well-being equipment and activities.

“This new structure will offer a comprehensive facility for the campus that involves creating new spaces while revitalizing the existing areas,” said Brett Curry, vice president of operations for C.W. Driver. “Blending the new space into the existing structure presents a unique construction challenge for this project, which when complete will be presented as an integrated, yet expanded and revitalized recreation center that UCR can be very proud of.”

The existing 9,000-square-foot structure on the lower level will be upgraded to include new offices, administration areas and training and multipurpose rooms. The expansive two-story addition will connect to the existing facility with a new bridge between the upper floors, while the existing facility will receive expansive upgrades.

Most of the existing fitness equipment will be moved to the new two-story addition, which will feature an indoor track, indoor climbing and bouldering wall, additional indoor courts, a new MAC gym, a fitness lab and massage therapy room, new weight and cardio equipment, a demonstration kitchen and multi-purpose rooms. UCR’s traditional blend brick will be used in the construction of a new circular locker room structure. The second floor will have views of the new 5,000-square-foot outdoor pool and deck, new sand volleyball courts, tennis courts and field space, as well as views of the Box Springs Mountains to the east.

“Because of the location, we need to incorporate the best use of natural light, as well as natural heating and cooling which will support the building’s sustainability efforts,” Curry said. “UCR’s blend brick is a traditional component that we will incorporate so that the new building is reflective of the campus traditions, but feels new and exciting with modern materials as well.”

Materials for construction will revolve around UCR’s blend brick, a campus requirement, which will be featured prominently on the opaque volumes at the ground level. The upper level will use a combination of curtainwall glazing and metal panels, and will feature vertical screening devices and overhangs to provide sun protection for the multiple solar orientations of the undulating façade. By utilizing different screen shapes and patterns along the curvature of the second floor, the facility will maximize the use of natural light while keeping cooling and heating costs to a minimum during peak hours, helping the facility achieve its targeted LEED Silver certification.

“The project’s location puts the site adjacent to not just existing sports facilities and thoroughfares, but also right against the existing Recreation Center building which will remain in use until the completion of construction,” said Brian DeMartino, senior project manager for C.W. Driver. “This poses a great challenge for construction because we will be installing utilities around the existing building, working in and around the existing facility, and building a new structure only a few feet from the existing occupied spaces.”

The new recreation center is expected to be a highlight of the campus and is currently running on time and on schedule for its 2015 opening.