Campus: Sonoma State University -- June 8, 2005

SSU Recreation Center Receives Outstanding Sports Facility Award for Sustainable Features

The Sonoma State University Recreation Center has been awarded a 2005 Outstanding Sports Facilities Award by the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association. NIRSA is the premier association for recreation professionals at college campuses.

SSU's $15 million Recreation Center was recognized for a state-of- the-art design that maximizes functional space and demonstrates numerous efforts incorporating sustainable building techniques while using a selection of materials which beautifully reflect the surrounding rural county. It was completed in August, 2004.

The 59,000 square-foot center includes a two-court gymnasium, one-court gymnasium/soccer arena, fitness center, climbing wall, outdoor adventure resource and equipment rental area, game room, exercise studios, locker rooms, and spa.

Sustainable design features which increase energy efficiency and strive to lessen impact on the environment include the extensive use of energy-saving day lighting, clerestories, and skylights; HVAC zones using a high efficiency indirect-direct evaporative cooling system, supplemented by natural ventilation and night-time natural cooling, and radiant hydronic floor heating; high-efficiency fluorescent lighting tied to photo-sensors and occupancy sensors; Energy Star and other energy-efficient appliances; reclaimed water in toilets, urinals, and for irrigation, low flow faucets; the use of sustainable woods for flooring; and many other techniques.

Pamela Su, Director of Campus Recreation, accepted the award on behalf of Sonoma State University. The award also acknowledged contributions made to the project by architecture firm, LPA, Inc., sports facility consultant, Bill Manning, and construction firm, Wright Contracting, Inc.

More information about the building's sustainability can be found at

A rooftop photovoltaic solar array is planned for future installation. The University received a $27,000 grant from the California Integrated Waste Management Board to support the use of recycled waste tire rubber in the climbing wall's safety flooring and to support the purchase of furniture using recycled materials.

Throughout the facility, numerous pieces of furniture display educational tags boasting of recycled materials such as plastic, steel, paper, glass, sunflower seed husks, and even seatbelts.

"I think one of the reasons this building turned out so successfully is the input and attention given by our students during the design stage," says Su.

"They were faced with helping to make difficult decisions of what would be best for many generations of building users to come and they hit it right on the nose. Trying to maintain a healthy mind and body in a healthy building supports our mission."

The building is a project of the Sonoma Student Union Corporation, an auxiliary organization at Sonoma State University. Students passed a campus-wide vote in fall of 2000 to raise the fees that support the project. The construction and operation of the Recreation Center uses no general fund or state dollars.

Su sees this as a plus, "Because student fees support this project, there was a greater ability to say how the space should be used and incorporating sustainable features. Students also have a much greater say in how the facility is run today."

The Rec Center welcomes visitors who want to look around and tour the facility. For further information, contact Pamela Su, (707) 664-4FUN.

Media Contact: Jean Wasp, Media Relations Coordinator, (707) 664-2057

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