Lake Crago Outdoor Recreation Center
Situated on 144-acres of previously state-owned land, the Lake Crago Park Outdoor Recreation Center transformed a former phosphate mining site into Lakeland’s premiere outdoor recreation facility. This 12,000 SF building is considered Phase 2 of Lake Crago Park. The Center contains a multi-purpose room for up to 150 people, an adjoining serving kitchen, a storage room, two indoor and two outdoor classrooms, a secured locker area, a lobby/reception area, three offices, a covered porch, and other associated support spaces. An amphitheater-style outdoor classroom and gathering area directly faces Lake Crago and leads to the 1,200 SF boathouse containing rental items for on-site water sport activities.
Eloquently composed to promote harmony with the natural landscape, this is the City’s first Parks & Recreation building intentionally designed to engage water. The design encourages purposeful interaction with the site, cultivating physical wellness through recreational activities and psychological benefits via sensory experiences. Expansive lake views are a distinct characteristic of each room along the North wall. The covered porch provides a space for visitors to enjoy and relax. The porch orientation takes advantage of lake breezes, providing a natural cooling system to combat predictable Florida humidity.
The surrounding environment directly influenced material selections and other details found in both the structure and façade. Exterior limestone depicts fossil-like textures, reminiscent of the site’s historical application and alluding to the new facility’s enduring ethos. Corten steel translates rust from a negative symbol of aging into a beautiful primary aesthetic. Exposed structural glulam wood framing members nod to highly visible woodlands enveloping the lake shores. Slightly winding walkways leading to the banks of Lake Crago refer to the filtering patterns of nearby water systems.
This Outdoor Recreation Center will prove to be a timeless structure for the City and other visitors to enjoy well into the future.