AURORA, CO — The much anticipated City of Aurora Moorhead Recreation Center grand opening was held on Thursday June 29 amid great fanfare, accompanied by the shrieks of excited children, and many tears of joy. The grand opening festivities included a ribbon cutting, facility tours, free ice cream, and remarks by Mayor Steve Hogan; City Manager Skip Noe; Parks, Recreation and Open Space Director Tom Barrett; and an official slide christening by City Council Member Sally Mounier.
The original Moorhead Recreation Center was only 4,500-square-feet, and had been at capacity for decades. It served a critical role as a drop-in center for latchkey children and teenagers, but it was also a cramped, one-level collection of narrow rooms, low ceilings, and a small, quarter-size gymnasium. The tears of joy and children’s shrieks at the ribbon cutting illustrated how the new Moorhead will transform the community.
“We have already seen thousands of visitors in the first two weeks the center was open to the public, showing just how valuable this center is to the community. There is something for everyone to do within this new center.” said Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan.
As the first new recreation center in the City of Aurora in 40 years, Moorhead Recreation Center is a landmark facility located in northwest Aurora. Built by general contractor Pinkard Construction and designed by Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture, the new $12.1 million construction project is a 38,600-square-foot facility with a cutting-edge design. It includes a full-sized gymnasium with three cross courts and running track, new fitness and cardio space, community teaching kitchen, multi-purpose rooms,
public computer space, additional parking and landscape upgrades. The new natatorium houses the renovated lap pool, a new leisure pool, and a 21-foot- high, 163-foot- long corkscrew water slide.
Barker Rinker Seacat’s cutting edge design produces a unique aesthetic not always seen in public recreation centers. Design innovations include a rope-wall divider screen that provides a physical barrier round the gymnasium while still maintaining the visual connection throughout the facility. The ropes’ unique colors and patterning create an abstraction of a waterfall – a recurring design element reflected in various scales throughout the building.
Constructing this and other unique design elements required an effective mock-up process and close collaboration among all team members. The scope for Moorhead Phase I originally included only a renovation and expansion of the drop-in center, with minor pool improvements and a new slide. When Pinkard’s competitive bid came-in more than $1 million under budget, the City was able to construct an entirely new facility in place of the drop-in center, along with the Phase II enclosure of the pool.
Construction of the two-phased project followed owner-contracted abatement, and demolition of the 40-year-old Moorhead Center.
Notable attendees included many excited children and other residents of the Moorhead community, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, City Manager Skip Noe, Deputy City Manager Nancy Freed, Councilwoman Sally Mounier, Parks, Recreation and Open Space Director Tom Barrett, representatives from Adams County, the Colorado Lottery, Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture, and Pinkard Construction Company.
Image courtesy of City of Aurora.