Córdova Recreation Center

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Purdue University recently completed an expansive refurbishment and expansion of the 51-year old Recreational Sports Center to create the contemporary Cordova Recreation Center (CoRec).  The original Recreational Sports Center was once considered a state-of-the-art facility and was among the first dedicated collegiate recreation buildings in the nation.  The newly renovated and expanded CoRec is once again considered state-of-the art among its peers and will serve the diverse needs of the Purdue community for many decades to come.

In addition to reinventing a first class recreation facility, there was a high degree of interest within the Purdue community to include sustainable principles and practices within the project.  Consequently, the CoRec design team utilized Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED ®) principles throughout the project to assure that the industry’s highest standards in green building design and construction were followed. The design team incorporated features such as heat recovery systems and sophisticated controls for optimal energy efficiency, water efficient fixtures, use of regional and recyclable materials to the extent possible, an open floor plan and glare-reducing window glazing that permits the penetration of natural daylight deep into the facility, native vegetation that eliminate the need for irrigation, and many other features to create a useful high-performing space. The project checklist below details LEED® credit achievement across the categories of: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality.


Site Overview

A reinterpretation of the previous Recreation Sports Center site enhances the connection to the adjacent Boilermaker Aquatic Center leverages the opportunities of both facilities to support each other while redefining access to outside recreation facilities and user access across one new CoRec. A drop-off circle for cars and buses was created to improve vehicle access adjacent to the west entry.  Service to both buildings was reoriented to a new service court accessed from the south.  A major new east entry and south / east facade draws pedestrian traffic from the Third Street Corridor and reinforces the facility’s prominence on campus and the goals of the Campus Master Plan.

Program Spaces

To meet the diverse program demands of the community, overall personal fitness and weight training spaces were more than doubled in the new building, yet are carefully distributed to provide a variety of experiences and atmospheres. The addition of basketball courts, 4 volleyball (and/or 9 badminton) courts, and multi-activity court provides opportunities for increased usage from a wider spectrum of students.  A large increase of multi-activity spaces serves the demands of group exercise and fitness class-type programs as well as providing multi-purpose space opportunities for use by student organizations and the larger Purdue community.  A multi-purpose warm water aquatics pool for wellness, fitness, and recreation uses was added to the complex to supplement the cool water competition pools of the attached Boilermaker Aquatic Center.  Running and walking opportunities were expanded by adding a three lane walking-jogging track in addition to the existing running track.  Rock climbing and bouldering spaces were added to the mix of activities available and existing racquet sports are better integrated into the facility. Combined, these features improved physical connections and zoning of spaces to allow improved circulation of users, more efficient staffing, and better security.

Building Design

The rejuvenated facility provides a new multi-level lobby that brings natural light deep into the core of lower levels while creating striking visual connections to virtually every type of activity available.  Adjacent to the public lobby are several multi-purpose spaces including a juice bar, lounge, wellness area, classrooms and a demonstration kitchen.  Direct connections to the Aquatic Center lobby improves both daily operation and swim meet spectator experiences, and provides visitors a dramatic and holistic view of the fitness and recreation activities available.  An open central stair provides clear circulation paths and easy access to all parts of the building.  Ramps and elevators have been strategically located to provide universal accessibility and support efficient operation of the facility, and visually interesting activities of aquatics and rock climbing are strategically positioned near each entry. 

Interior glass wall and overlooks of fitness and gymnasium spaces transmit movement and an exciting sense of activity throughout all five levels of the complex.  “Neighborhoods” of fitness spaces located throughout the center reduce perception of scale to more comfortable levels, and provides users differing levels of privacy or interaction for individual fitness environments.  Gymnasiums, likewise, are separated into smaller configurations that provide slightly different character and emphasis for different sports or multi-purpose activities.  A new 1/8th mile walking/jogging track, located over the central lobby space provides views of both indoor activity spaces and the Purdue campus. 

A Wellness Suite provides physical therapy, first aid, and fitness assessment.  The numerous multi-purpose rooms are varied in size providing space for group exercise, spinning, and combative classes.  Support space such as locker rooms, administrative spaces, and building service space are expanded.

Collectively, these features combine existing large brick masses from the original facility with new glass facades at entries and activity spaces plus the latest in high-performance design to create a fresh and cohesive whole that meets the functional needs and aesthetic aspirations of the 21st century student while being respectful of the existing site context and architectural palette of the Purdue campus. During your next visit to the CoRec, take time to explore the vibrant atmosphere and modern aesthetic.


Purdue University, Recreation & Wellness, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-3109

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