Green From Every Angle
ED+C Magazine

by John Cahill, RA, CDT, LEED AP

Missouri’s historic Swope Park, donated by Col. Thomas Swope in 1896, is one of Kansas City’s first and largest parks. Home to the Kansas City Zoo, Starlight Theatre, Swope Memorial Golf Course, Blue River Golf Course, Lakeside Nature Center, 10 shelter houses and numerous picnic areas and athletic fields, the park is a fun and educational family destination. It is also now the home of the new green Southeast Community Center.

When the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department hired KAI Design & Build, of St. Louis, Mo, to design the new environmentally friendly community center, the firm’s architects and engineers were challenged to create a facility that would withstand the rigors of daily physical activity, reduce energy consumption and preserve a historic landscape--all while educating the facility’s patrons on the benefits of energy conservation.

The $12 million, 50,000-square-foot Southeast Community Center opened to the public on Dec. 13, 2008. Designed to achieve a LEED Silver certification, the center is significantly larger than a nearby community center built in the early 1950s about a half-mile away. The new facility also serves a larger population of the community and has activities for all age groups, from toddlers to seniors.

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