The University of Arizona's Student Recreation Center Expansion (SRCE) added 54,000 square feet to an existing campus hub to transform a parking lot into a LEED Platinum-certified facility. Designed by Sasaki in collaboration with M3 Engineering of Tucson, Ariz., the SRCE originally targeted LEED Silver certification. It is the first LEED-certified building on the university’s campus.

The expansion incorporates a 35,000-square-foot fitness center, cardio mezzanine, and a multi-use activity court gymnasium. An outdoor adventure area bridges the old and new structures and houses rock-climbing boulders, sand volleyball courts, and outdoor fitness spaces. The area is framed by two intersecting roof elements.

The facility’s energy efficiency is enhanced by passive solar measures including optimal building orientation, daylighting in 99 percent of the facility’s occupied spaces, opaque walls on the east and west sides, deep roof overhangs that shade glass and ground surfaces, a high-efficiency building envelope, and 54,000 square feet of cool roofing. Smart synchronization of energy systems saves nearly 51 percent of the energy cost compared to baseline.

 Materials using recycled content make up more than 20 percent of the total value of materials in the facility, and more than 10 percent of all the materials used in construction were manufactured or produced within 500 miles of Tucson. In addition, interior materials and finishes were selected to reduce or eliminate VOCs.

To address water use, high-efficiency plumbing fixtures were installed to reduce water use by 47.5 percent, and passive stormwater harvesting strategies in the landscape areas increase permeability while infiltration basins help manage runoff. Surrounding plantings were selected for their ability to survive in an arid environment.