CSU Archives and Special Collections

CSU Buildings and Grounds History

A history of CSU's building and grounds from 1870 to the present.

Student Recreation Center, 1989-

Large two-story L-shaped building. Students are playing hockey in the inline skating rink in front of the building.

Student Recreation Center, c. 2004

From CSU's Sense of Place:  A Campus History of Colorado's Land-Grant University, by James E. Hansen, Gordon A. Hazard, and Linda M. Meyer.  Fort Collins, CO:  Colorado State University, 2018.

Architects - H+L Architecture of Denver, Charles Sink, Richard L. Combs and Donald Dethlefs of Denver, Chicago and Los Angeles, CSU architect Fred Haberecht, Jeffrey Errett, Don Bundy and Glenn Konen of The Architects Studio, Fort Collins, Charles Steckly Architecture Inc., and Hastings & Chivetta of St. Louis, Missouri with Counsilman-Hunsaker as the Aquatic Design Engineer (2011 addition) 

Builder – Saunders Construction Company, Incorporated (2011 addition)

951 Meridian Avenue

802, 804 and 810 Hughes Way

The 1980s saw a massive increase in interest in personal health by many students.  Health clubs were doing booming business all over town. The need to have a top-quality facility on the campus was widely recognized. Private health clubs were expensive and usually locked customers into long-term contracts. Pooling student fees into creating and operating one large on-campus facility was felt to give students a much more affordable option to meet their recreational needs and desires.

June 22, 1988, saw the groundbreaking ceremony take place for the Student Recreation Center. Along with starting the construction of the building, installation of lighting for the intramural fields was done during the summer of 1988. On October 18, 1988, a ceremony took place at 6:00 p.m. when all the intramural fields had night lighting installed for the first time. This was because many felt that the students needed to have something to show for their fees and because of it, evening recreation was transformed.

The new building designed by H+L Architecture of Denver was opened August 23, 1989, and was funded by student fees. The new Student Recreation Center offered basketball, volleyball, and racquetball courts, pool, weight/cardio room, spa pool, elevated indoor track, aerobics room, lounge, locker rooms, and sundeck. The official dedication ceremony took place on February 7, 1990. The students now had health club facilities that were equal or better than any offered at a higher price off-campus. Included as part of the new recreation center were outdoor sand volleyball courts and basketball courts. 

During October and November 1996 an in-line skate hockey rink was constructed and opened just south of the building. Playing hockey on in-line roller skates had become very popular by this time. On the night of July 28, 1997, the rink was badly damaged by a flash flood. It was rebuilt in the fall and remains in use.

In the spring of 1997, the ever-growing student body was ready for more and voted to increase their student fees to expand the size of the Recreation Center. This new addition, completed in the fall of 1999, included a much larger weight/cardio room, two additional basketball and volleyball courts, a multipurpose room, more locker rooms, a sun deck and new office space for the staff. This renovation design was the work of Architects Charles Sink, Richard L. Combs and Donald Dethlefs of Denver, Chicago and Los Angeles. Architect Fred Haberecht of the Department of Facilities Management designed the Sun Deck Storage building.

In 2000, an Intramural Field Support Building, designed by Jeffrey Errett, Don Bundy and Glenn Konen of The Architects Studio, Fort Collins was built at 802 South Drive. This first phase construction was built of native stone to provide restrooms, first-aid office and on-site storage for the Bo Cowen Intramural Field activities. It was located just north of Ellis Hall.

Cell phone use was expanding rapidly, and the T-Mobile Company contracted with the University to have a communications tower built next to the Intramural Field Support Building. Charles Steckly Architecture Inc. designed this project at 810 South Drive.

In 2008, a second building at 804 South Drive was built to provide expanded first-aid and storage facilities. Located just west of the existing IM Field Support Building, its construction provided a partly enclosed patio area between the two buildings.

In 2009, another major addition to the Student Recreation Center building was placed under construction.  Costing $32 million, this renovation and 102,000 square foot addition was completed by the fall of 2011. Certified LEED Gold, it featured an indoor rock-climbing wall enclosed in a sweeping glass and steel structure that became a landmark building on the Main Campus. Most of the roof was covered with solar panels. This project was designed by the architectural firm of Hastings & Chivetta of St. Louis, Missouri and built by the Saunders Construction Company, Incorporated. Councilman Hunsaker served as the Aquatic Design Engineer for the unique swimming pool design installed the renovated facility.

As part of this project, during the summer of 2009, the rough intramural field area long known as the “Alfalfa Field” just west of Arthur Ditch was graded and replanted in turf grass to become a fully usable sports field. It was said that after the old sod was removed to allow the grading work, rain showers activated “barnyard odors” to remind people this part of campus once was part of the old College Farm. This area would become known as “Lagoon Field” and used as the home field for the varsity Women’s Soccer Team beginning in 2014.

In April 2017, work began on the north side of the building for an addition to increase the size of the facility housing the weight room.

Colleges and universities around the country recognize the need to have first-class academic, housing and recreation facilities to attract students to their campus. This is one way CSU has answered this challenge. In 2015 a new Master Plan was published.  It showed a major addition to the northeast corner of the Student Recreation Center.

Sources by Gordon A. Hazard

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