Incorporating Innovative Elements into Recreation Design

Incorporating Innovative Elements into Recreation Design

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Innovation drives our creative process.  Developing forward-thinking design solutions and pushing the envelope to deliver ever more beautiful and functional spaces drives our purpose of shaping campuses and communities.


For over 40 years, Hastings+Chivetta has been an innovator in the design of recreation, athletic and community centers with a portfolio that has earned 20 Athletic Business Facilities of Merit Awards and 30 NIRSA Outstanding Sports Facilities Awards.  We pride ourselves in sharing with our clients what we believe to be the next generation of recreation activities and programming. As a firm, we are recognized as a leader for first-in-the-nation, innovative features in recreation facilities including:


In 1981, we designed the Simon Recreation Center at Saint Louis University. This is considered the first standalone collegiate recreation center in the country. Since the inception of that facility, hundreds of student fee funded recreation centers have been designed and constructed across the United States.

We designed the first indoor wave pool in the country for the City of Thornton, Colorado Community Recreation Center in 1984. Indoor wave pools are few and far between and are more commonly found in found in private for-profit aquatic centers. In 2003, we completed a second wave pool at The Lodge for the City of Des Peres, Missouri.

In 1988, we designed the first recreation center to be constructed on top of a parking garage at Loyola University in New Orleans.  We have since designed several similar facilities on tight urban sites.

In 1990, we design the first Multipurpose Activity Court (MAC) gymnasium for the University of Toledo.  These have become common place in both collegiate and community recreation centers today.  These facilities are truly multipurpose and can accommodate unlimited activities including basketball, volleyball, pickle ball, tennis, badminton, indoor soccer, floor hockey, futsal, dodgeball and even quidditch.  They also accommodate community events such arts and craft fairs, book fairs, blood drives, camps, movie nights, teen shut-ins, and dances.  Hastings+Chivetta has designed over 70 MACs across the country.

In 2005, we designed the first climbing wall in a pool at the Southeast Missouri State University Recreation and Aquatic Center. The University specifically requested that Hastings+Chivetta find some unique feature to distinguish the facility from so many “typical” recreation centers. Not only have we designed several more of these pool/climbing wall facilities, but the climbing wall industry has since introduced both portable and permanent climbing walls you can add to your existing pool.

In 2015, the State University of New York (SUNY) Cortland Student Life Center became home to the the first ADA accessible indoor track that changes elevation vertically as it moves through the facility.  We are currently constructing a similar track for the Wentzville REC Center under construction for the City of Wentzville, Missouri.

At the E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center which opened in 2017 on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno, inspired by one of Gatorade’s first commercials with Bo Jackson running stadium steps and refueling with Gatorade, we designed the first and only indoor four-story stadium steps for functional training. These training stadium steps are very successful and have been incorporated into an indoor obstacle course that runs throughout the facility.

In 2019 we celebrated the opening of our new shared collegiate and community facility, called the Human Performance Center, at Utah Tech University which features the first and only indoor and outdoor jogging track. On beautiful days, you can choose to run around the indoor track and exit the building on the fourth floor to run up to the outdoor track on the roof. The roof top activity also includes basketball and pickleball courts and was designed to host under-the-stars events like dances and concerts.

In 2023, the HED/H+C team will be opening the Belmont Beach & Aquatics Center in Long Beach, California.  This will become the first outdoor aquatic center to use ETFE (Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene) which is a fluorine-based plastic polymer that offers a creative and lightweight alternative to glass as the roof and sunshade for the innovative complex. The swimming and diving venue will also be the host site for competition diving for the 2028 LA Olympics.


The H+C team continues to seek out the newest innovations in recreation design, innovative lighting, flooring surfaces, equipment and program features for any proposed project.


To learn more about how our team incorporates innovation in recreation design, contact Erik Kocher at [email protected] or (314) 529-4004.