Alan Rindlisbacher
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Foundation Magazine


Uintah Community Center Opens; First Recreation Center of Its Kind in Eastern Utah

July 31, 2008

The new Uintah Community Center recently opened in Vernal, Utah with phenomenal public response. Crowds averaging between 1,200 and 1,800 people daily are now able to enjoy many amenities previously unavailable in the eastern part of the state. The facility was designed by EDA Architects and constructed by Layton Construction Co., Inc.

The 70,000-square-foot recreation center includes a large natatorium with a competitive lap pool and diving area as well as a large leisure pool. The leisure pool incorporates a beach entry, lazy river current channel, bubble couch, dinosaur-themed children's slide, two water slides accessed from a 26-foot high platform, lap lanes and an innovative raised play structure that includes interactive water sprays, slides and a large tipping bucket. The pools feature Myrtha Pool technology, a padded floor system and the latest in pool filtration systems and elements that reduce chemical use, such as a supplemental ozone system.

The Myrtha Pool systems represent state-of-the-art technology and greatly reduce ongoing maintenance costs while including a 15-year warranty. Myrtha Pools offer the most advanced technology in the swimming pool industry because they consist of a patented, pre-engineered modular system that is based on the use of laminated Stainless Steel panels and a buttress system, allowing Myrtha structures to achieve perfect waterproofing. This type of pool system is very new to the area--there are only two other facilities that have employed the Myrtha system in the state of Utah.

The Uintah Community Center is planned around a monumental 42-foot sculpted climbing wall, with a running track encircling the wall. The climbing wall was designed with the intent to replicate the rock cliffs of Dry Fork Canyon. It took crews seven weeks to pre-fabricate, glue, coat with concrete and shape the foam blocks used on the wall. Knives were used once everything was in place to create texture and groove the final look of the wall before it was coated with color and textured by hand.

To blend in with its rugged surroundings, the recreation center was designed to reflect the natural environments that act as the facility's backdrop. The design of the facility includes large amounts of interior glass, allowing for great views of all activity spaces. The modern structural system is a concrete column moment frame that allows for large expanses of glass that naturally light areas throughout the facility. The use of materials including corrugated metal and heavy timber--both commonly found in Uintah County--help evoke the feeling that the Community Center is a natural part of Vernal's pastoral setting.

Other amenities of the facility include a double gymnasium, three party rooms, conference rooms, a community room with an adjacent kitchen, a short-term child care center, a spinning room, classrooms and recreation district offices. The plan is designed to accept a possible second phase addition of racquetball or tennis courts with minimal revisions. The recreation center is the first phase of an 80-acre park that will include four baseball fields, several playgrounds and pavilions, a park jogging trail, an amphitheater and sledding area, a large pond and naturalized areas surrounding Ashton Creek, which bisects the park.

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