On March 11, 2005, the South Suburban Park and Recreation District celebrated the grand opening of its award-winning Douglas H. Buck Community Recreation Center. The 54,000-square-foot, $11.65 million facilities in downtown Littleton, Arapahoe, Douglas, and Jefferson counties replaced an older senior center but were created to meet the health and wellness needs of a diverse community. Located directly north of a recently renovated municipal courthouse and within walking distance of the light rail station, it reflects the town’s traditional values found in its environment and history.
Considering its proximity to the courthouse, the Douglas H. Buck Community Recreation Center’s design team felt it was necessary to harmonize with the building’s historic surroundings. This was accomplished through warm brick and traditional details that matched the character of the area. In addition, the center was designed in an efficient way to fit into the downtown area, breaking the large building mass into components. The pitched roof, brick accents, and base correspond to the neighboring courthouse’s details and the arched windows, while overhangs and roof brackets reference the historic railroad depot and nearby Carnegie Library.
In addition to meeting the needs of seniors, the facility also appeals to younger generations, as well as promotes wellness through the use of recreational features. Designed to facilitate customer service, the lobby provides a stunning view of the western horizon and views of center activities. There is a reception desk located in the fitness area, as well as a hallway that leads to the community wing. The lounge and game room are located adjacent to the lobby and offer views of the pool and west. There is good visibility from the drop-off area, which allows seniors and children waiting for rides to get picked up easily.
As far as fitness is concerned, the facility includes a fitness area, aerobics studio, gym, and a 16-lap running track. However, the natatorium is perhaps the most popular area. It features three indoor swimming pools designed to meet the needs of the entire community. The zero-depth entry leisure pool offers a multitude of options for aquatic play, relaxation, and fitness. A current channel provides a nice option for workouts, and interactive elements including and geysers, two vortex dumping buckets. And a kid-sized, alligator-shaped slide, is perfect for keeping young children active.
In addition, the community wing has a multipurpose classroom that can be used for crafts such as ceramics. It may also be used as an informal performance stage, which is elevated and attached to a larger multipurpose room. With a mobile wall separating these rooms, they can serve multiple functions. In addition to computer and babysitting rooms, the wing also houses a commercial kitchen for banquets and food programs. Just passed the reception desk is the fitness room, which is adjacent to a specialized aerobics/dance studio and gymnasium. There are also locker rooms for men, women, and families leading to the natatorium, one of the facility’s most popular areas. An outdoor patio adjacent to the natatorium includes a space for sunning and an outdoor whirlpool. All the elements, both inside and out, combine to create a facility that Littleton residents of all ages can enjoy.
Others can also take advantage of the therapy pool equipped with a handicap ramp and lift or the 3-lane, 25-meter lap pool. The lap pool meets the needs of those looking for competitive swimming and/or exercising and can also be used for water basketball. To encourage relaxation, a spacious deck/lounge area showcases the aesthetics and architectural lighting of the facility and includes seating areas designed for socialization and gathering, especially for seniors after they complete a wellness class. Additionally, the outdoor patio includes a custom-designed whirlpool and sun deck.
The Douglas H. Buck Community Recreation Center is open Monday-Friday, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.; second and fourth Fridays from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. There is an entry fee to the center depending on your age.