Herriman • When it opens for business Friday, the J.L. Sorenson Recreation Center won't just be Salt Lake County's newest.
The $26.2-million building will join an elite group, one of six projects in the state to achieve platinum certification under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.
"This is the first of its kind among recreation centers in the United States," said Alan D. Rindlisbacher, marketing director for Layton Construction Co., which built the center. The building was designed to use 40 percent less energy than a non-LEED-certified structure of similar size, Rindlisbacher said.
Sunlight is used as much as possible for daytime illumination. Large windows let the sun shine on the pool area, while skylights, windows and light tubes funnel sunlight onto the basketball courts, racquetball courts and fitness rooms.
The rooms also are equipped with sensors that will shut down indoor lights if there's enough natural light.
But lighting is not the only energy saver.
A rooftop solar panel array helps heat the pool water, cutting down on the energy used to warm almost 400,000 gallons of water.
The plumbing is designed to save about 1 million gallons of water a year, compared to a non-LEED-certifed building. And the roof will dissipate heat in the summer, reducing the demand for air conditioning.
Workers were adding final details to the building March 10 as the county and Layton conducted a VIP tour. Recreation officials from Salt Lake and Utah counties toured the 103,000-square-foot building, which will serve Herriman, Bluffdale and Riverton.
Martin Jensen, Salt Lake County spokesman, said the project was financed with $20 million from the Zoos, Arts and Parks tax, along with $1 million from the Jordan School District which will use the center for swim meets and a land donation from Herriman.
But Jensen said the Sorenson Group's $5 million donation allowed the center to offer all of the amenities residents wanted. Without the Sorenson money, "we probably would have left off the racquetball courts," Jensen said.
The Sorenson Group also built the Rosecrest community in Herriman.
The building includes a lap pool, leisure pool with a water slide and water features for small children. There are four basketball courts, six racquetball courts, fitness rooms, a 0.10-mile running track and a day care center for patrons.
There is a room with computers and video games for those who prefer more passive recreation.
The goal, Jensen said, is to create a center that serves the whole community, with a focus on families.
The center got high marks from those who visited Thursday.
"It's a beautiful building," said Nancy Smith, who works at the Centennial Pool in West Valley City. "The pool is so wonderful."
Roger Thomas, Provo's Parks and Recreation director, was looking for ideas for his city's planned recreation center. Thomas said the Sorenson center reflects the desires of its community, just as Provo's will. He said he was particularly impressed with the energy efficiency measures.