A pioneering joint effort of Bernalillo County and East Mountain High School, the project added 19,000 square-feet to the Vista Grande Community Center, providing the 330-student high school with a full-size regulation high school gymnasium suitable for competition play. Located against the backdrop of the San Pedro and Ortiz Mountains, the building’s stepped massing and earth-toned stucco harmonizes with the scale of both the existing community center and the natural landscape. Cost-effective green strategies were employed throughout the design. The roof drainage system was designed to allow for installation of a water-harvesting system, with underground storage tanks for landscape irrigation use and fire department emergency use.
The gymnasium has telescoping bleacher seating for 600, and for special events an additional 500 can be accommodated on chairs. In addition to locker rooms and staff areas, the project features a lobby that unites the new construction with the existing community center. Interior finishes were selected for durability, ease of maintenance, low VOC-emissions, and cost effectiveness. Extensive use of natural daylight throughout the building minimizes the need for artificial illumination.