The LEED Gold certified Wildcat Recreation Center (WREC) fills a long held need for recreation space on the CSU Chico campus. Students now have a dedicated building that serves more than 2,000 users a day.
The state-of-the-art, 110,000 gsf, 2-story building accommodates a variety of activities appealing to a broad spectrum of students. The outdoor pool, heated spa, and associated deck provides another 16,000 assignable square feet in a southwest facing open courtyard. The WREC’s efficient plan responds to a request for a layout that is easy to understand and flows from space to space. A two-story central gallery visually and physically connects all major activities in the building and extends the interior to the First Street forecourt and outdoor pool deck.
The student funded project was envisioned as a campus “living room”. Various settings for students’ social interaction factor into the WREC’s atmosphere; the lounge and refreshment bar extends the gallery’s social space for groups to meet or gather before or after workouts. Overlooks into the gallery serve as private areas for stretching and cardio, while also providing a quiet place for those who wish to read or work on a laptop. The monumental stair’s mid-landing provides an area for passing conversations.
Materials and colors draw from the campus’s built environment and local terrain. Similar to the original masonry buildings on campus, the WREC exterior incorporates a custom brick blend that serves as a durable interior backdrop for gymnasium sports. The main circulation flooring is a gray porcelain tile which echoes the rock-strewn creek that winds through campus. A large, multi-faceted graphic on the elevator shaft orients users across the open spaces. Salvaged wood framing provides new tactile uses as benches and desks for students and staff.