Cal Poly Pomona Bronco Recreation and Intramural Complex

Pomona, California

A modern health and fitness facility keeps students connected, in shape and on campus

Cal Poly Pomona’s 120,000-square-foot Bronco Recreation and Intramural Complex is a hub for student activity on campus. One of several student recreation centers LPA has designed within the California State University (CSU) system, the complex was developed as a place where the university’s 24,000 students could work, exercise and socialize between classes, reducing vehicular trips to and from the university.

The project was funded by student fees and designed after an extensive engagement program involving all the stakeholders. The final design was approved by a student vote, with 98 percent of incoming freshmen students voting in favor of building the facility and 75 percent of those students pledging to spend extra dollars in tuition fees in order to see the building become a reality.

The center combines a wide variety of activities designed to promote health and witness on campus, including a 6,500 square-foot pool, a three-court gymnasium, 16,000 square feet of weight and fitness space and a 51-foot-tall rock climbing wall—one of the largest on the western coast. The center also includes a multi-activity court, two racquetball courts, administration offices, locker rooms and shower facilities, and a juice store for a healthy food and drink options.

The architects were challenged by an awkward site, limited by existing easements, setbacks, topography and a less than optimal building orientation. To maximize the space, a dramatic, gravity-defying three-story steel structure was incorporated, including several substantial cantilevered floor areas, the largest of which extends nearly 60 feet. A quarter-mile running track on the top floor affords joggers a scenic view of the campus and surrounding areas.

The project earned LEED Gold certification, with a design that includes a high-performance stormwater management system, a “cool roof” design, maximized natural light, thermal displacement ventilation and passive solar protection through fritted glass fins and strategically-located shaded ribbon windows. Recycled or locally-manufactured materials were used throughout the project, which also includes low-flow plumbing fixtures, a solar water-heating system for the pool and the landscape maintained with greywater.

The facility has earned design awards from the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association and multiple local AIA chapters.

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