Green pools “LEED” the way and the Campus Recreation Center at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS) is the first public building in southern Colorado to earn gold certification status from the U.S. Green Building Council.

In certifying buildings, the council developed Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) to review green criteria ranging from energy efficiency to the use of natural light. Campus recreation natatoriums can be socially fun as well as soothing sanctuaries, and both sophistication and technology increase every year as the UCCS Campus Recreation Center demonstrates.

It all started with the demand for recreational areas by the growing student body. The inadequate 1988 recreation facility had been built when the student body was approximately 50 percent of its current level; subsequently, it became unable to meet its recreational needs. UCCS retained Sink Combs Dethlefs for the planning and design of the new 54,000-square-foot Campus Recreation Center, and Counsilman-Hunsaker for the design of the 4,300-square-foot indoor recreational pool.

Since the center was built using student fees, the Students for Environmental Awareness and Sustainability advocated that the new building be officially certified through LEED. The project received two grants from the Governor’s Energy Office for its pursuit of high performance design, and the Farnsworth Group was retained for green consultation services.

Built in 2007, the Campus Recreation Center includes innovative features such as solar thermal panels, insulated concrete form walls and low-maintenance landscaping. Consequently, student encouragement resulted in the center being 30 percent more energy efficient and 38 percent more water efficient than traditional buildings. The center offers panoramic views of Pikes Peak with a two court gymnasium circled by an elevated running track, a fitness center, a 12-foot boulder wall, aerobics and dance room, cafe, multi-purpose room, offices for the Campus Recreation Department, and a state-of-the-art indoor recreation pool.

The development of the campus recreation pool at UCCS represents the changing facet of the recreation scene at colleges and universities. The campus enrolls approximately 8,000 students annually, who were looking for something to transcend a flat water pool.

Dimensional features of the recreation pool include the thrill of mounting the stairs to the exhilaration of sliding down into the water, making the university’s waterslide an extremely popular attraction. A socializing aquatic feature is the quiet swirling waters of the vortex, beckoning students to enter and enjoy its hydro effects. Four adjacent swim lanes offer a stress elixir for students wishing to lap swim in a rigorous workout. After fun in the pool, a plunge down the waterslide, or a good physical swim, the whirlpool spa offers therapeutic relaxation for tired muscles or a warm soaking experience after finals.


Aquatic space: 10,000

Year opened: 2007

Cost: $12 million

Dream feature: 4,324 square foot leisure pool, waterslide, vortex, whirlpool spa.


  • Dream Designer: Counsilman-Hunsaker
  • Architect: Sink Combs Dethlefs


  • Chemical Control Systems:BECS Technology
  • Cleaner Vacuums: Harmsco
  • Filters: Nemato Corp.
  • Handicapped Equipment/Pool Lift System:RMT Aquatics
  • Heaters: Laars Heating Systems
  • Ladders/Grab Bars: S.R. Smith
  • Pumps: Aurora Pumps
  • Sanitizations Systems: Arch Chemicals
  • Waterslides: Splashtacular


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