Design for recreation center on Downtown campus faces hurdles from ASU students


Photos provided by Arizona State University

The design for the Downtown Student Recreation Center was presented to the facilities-fee board and the student-body presidents of all ASU campuses Wednesday, meeting concerns from several members.

Downtown campus President Joseph Grossman said while the designs are creative and a step in the right direction, the lack of student involvement is troublesome.

It is frustrating that administrators think they can use facilities fees for parts of the SRC without discussing it with students, Grossman said.

The project, he said, is intended to be a collaboration between the administration and students, and he doesn’t see enough of that.

Andres Cano, director of parliamentary procedures in the Downtown government, echoed many of Grossman’s concerns.

Cano – whose first meeting as a member of the facilities-fee board was Wednesday – was concerned about the project’s lack of visibility over the past two years.

The plans are subject to change through the approval process and are more likely to change if students don’t approve of them.

Cano said he likes the plans as they are.

“What we have is just a well thought out design,” he said, adding that the building could be revolutionary to student life on the Downtown campus.

Jan Lorant, lead architect for the project, said the building is going to be as sustainable as possible. Solar panels will likely be installed on the roof, and other green technologies will be explored in the coming months.

The building was largely designed with the sun in mind. Phoenix receives harsh sunlight in the mornings and evenings, and the architects factored that into the building’s plans.

Nearby buildings east of the SRC create shade in the mornings, which allowed the designers to open up the First Avenue-facing side with windows. There is an area on the ground floor behind these windows where people can gather. The larger windows will likely have filters that allow natural light into the building but keep much of the heat outside. They will also likely cut down on air-conditioning costs, a step toward the architects’ sustainability goals.

The architects also planned some of the building’s windows around what people would be doing inside. For example, Lorant said they didn’t want someone going up for a rebound while playing basketball and being blinded by the sun, so they positioned the windows accordingly.

The back of the building, which faces west, only has a couple of windows, an attempt to limit the amount of evening sunlight that would penetrate the building.

In addition, Lorant said, a building could be built behind the SRC in the future, and positioning massive windows toward another structure isn’t a smart plan.

Being smart with their plan was one of the designers’ main goals, and they will have to keep that up as questions start to roll in from Downtown students about their decisions.

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