February 07, 2012 15:35 ET

Angelo State University Opens Doors to New Recreation Center Expansion, Designed by SmithGroupJJR

Center for Human Performance Offers Enhanced Fitness Options, Dynamic Gathering Space

DALLAS, TX--(Marketwire - Feb 7, 2012) - Angelo State University (ASU) has opened the doors to a new 22,000-square-foot recreation and wellness center in the heart of its San Angelo, Texas campus.

The $5.25 million, two-story Center for Human Performance, designed by SmithGroupJJR, opened in fall 2011 and provides students, staff and alumni access to enhanced fitness services and facilities.

Serving more than 7,000 students, the center's mission is to engage the campus community in recreation and wellness programs while fostering social interaction, sportsmanship, and leadership development.

Sharing space with the university's Department of Kinesiology, the center was designed to accommodate academic and training activities in addition to athletic and fitness programs. Amenities include a 9,000-square foot cardio/weight room and three-lane indoor track measuring 1/11 mile. Its most prominent features are a 40-foot tall rock climbing wall and 720-square foot bouldering structure. Firsts for the university, these elements have contributed to tripling the center's utilization rates.

"The climbing features have quickly turned the rec center into a popular new gathering spot on campus," said Bradley Petty, director of university recreation. "It definitely supports the university's retention goals."

Design Considerations
Sited along the campus' primary pedestrian axis, the building expansion brings new energy to an existing 85,000-square foot facility -- once home to ASU's basketball arena -- and adds a contemporary feel to the university's campus.

"Even though it was located on a prominent site, the original 1970s facility was pretty easy to miss," said Clint Menefee, architect at SmithGroupJJR's Dallas office. "People walking by had no idea what the building was used for. Our goal was to visually connect users to the center's dynamic activity."

SmithGroupJJR's designers replaced the facility's windowless block and brick north façade with a glass curtain wall. Highly utilized activity centers -- cardio equipment, weight systems and segments of the track -- were organized along the interior perimeter. The configuration offers increased visibility of the center's functions and engages pedestrians traveling along the east mall.

A custom-designed 18-foot by 92-foot mural system spanning the upper level of the building's interior south wall also adds visual interest and promotes recreation activities housed within.

The addition was designed in accordance with the university's master plan, updated in 2007. A palette of variegated brown brick, cast stone highlights, and bronze metal window mullions is consistent with neighboring facilities.

Project upgrades also included life safety systems. Additionally, biometric hand scanners were installed as a security feature, allowing the university to regulate access by user groups and programming schedules.

Construction was funded through student fees.

Background Information
Angelo State University is a member of the Texas Tech University (TTU) system and delivers undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts, sciences, and professional disciplines.

SmithGroupJJR's experience with TTU spans five campuses and also includes work at the school's academic sites and health sciences centers.

With 10 locations and 800 employees across the U.S., SmithGroupJJR's recreation and athletic field experience encompasses more than 5,000,000-gross square feet across a variety of fusion environments. Clients include Baylor University, Central Michigan University, Sam Houston State University, and Texas Woman's University. Among the firm's most noteworthy, recently completed projects are the 78,000-square foot Student Recreation Center at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas; the $30.6 million Barbara and David Gibbs Recreation & Wellness Center at Rice University in Houston, Texas; and the 100,000-square foot Boll Family YMCA in Detroit, Mich.

SmithGroupJJR is one of the largest architecture, engineering and planning firms in the U.S., ranked #1 for design quality based on design awards won in Architect magazine's 2011 annual best firms ranking. The firm is also the recipient of the 2011 Landscape Architecture Firm Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects. A national leader in sustainable design, SmithGroupJJR has 354 LEED professionals and 70 LEED certified projects.

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