In September 2012, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) officially dedicated its 145,000 sq. ft. Sports and Recreation Center; one of the finest higher education athletic facilities in the Northeast. In addition to providing WPI students, faculty, and staff with state-of-the-art facilities, the new center also provides the university outstanding space for hosting regional and national robotics competitions, as well as other non-sporting functions such as admissions open houses, career fairs, and national academic conferences.
The 9,600 sq. ft. natatorium features a stretch 25 competition pool with 10 lap lanes, two 1-meter diving boards and one 3-meter diving board for recreational and competitive use. The new center now houses an 11,000 sq. ft. fitness area, four-court gymnasium, racquetball and squash courts, an eight-person rowing tank for crew training, multiple fitness class studios, training and rehabilitation suite, offices, conference rooms, support spaces for the athletics department, and dedicated space for WPI’s multi-faceted robotics program.
The recreation center will be pursuing LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for energy efficient design. To meet the criteria for LEED standards, the center’s pool water will be pre-heated year round by 35 solar panels on the roof. By keeping the water pre-heated to 65 degrees, the center’s boilers require far less fuel to bring the water temperature to the required 80 degrees. The roof also has a rainwater collection system that captures rain and stores the water in two 2,500-gallon tanks buried below WPI’s quadrangle. The water will be used in the center’s cooling system, saving an estimated 800,000 gallons of fresh water every year.