The $26-million Chlapaty Recreation and Wellness Center includes a 6,900-sq-ft two-level fitness space for cardiovascular and strength training, a six-lane 200-meter synthetic indoor track, four multipurpose courts, training room, locker rooms, lounge, juice bar, and offices.

University of Dubuque Chlapaty Recreation and Wellness Center
Photo: © Fentress Photography

As part of the project, the football field was with new lighting, synthetic turf, a surrounding track, and new seating.

The two-story press box and suite rooms rise above the bleachers, mimicking the forms seen throughout campus.

Key Players

Owner: University of Dubuque, Dubuque, Iowa
General Contractor: Conlon Construction Co., Dubuque, Iowa
Design Firm: Hastings & Chivetta Architects, St. Louis

In addition to serving the university, the new center is used by local community groups, schools, and citizens. It is the first new space on campus large enough to hold convocations, conferences and other large events.

The tight hilltop site required the use of space-saving techniques to make the most of the available footprint and to limit the center’s impact on surrounding neighborhoods. One technique was installing bleachers for the football grandstand as a roof for the Chlapaty Center. The dual use of space decreased the building’s footprint by 30 ft. To ensure thermal efficiency and watertightness, a sprayed-on insulation and waterproofing system was built up in several coats.

The project uses a detention pond to capture and infiltrate rainwater from impervious areas and to stem runoff flooding that had affected downhill neighbors before construction.

To help reduce utility usage, a geothermal heating/cooling system was installed. The geothermal well field was located below the parking lot to make dual use of the land.