Steve Blackburn, AIA, LEED AP

Steve Blackburn, AIA, LEED AP - Principal, National Recreation Facilities

Principal, National Recreation Facilities

As a principal, Steve’s focus is twofold: business development and assisting clients and communities in developing a vision and program plan for their community gathering and recreation facilities. He helps them make informed decisions about what they need, what they can afford and the best way to operate their facilities. For the past 30 years, Steve has dedicated himself to the programming and design of recreation and wellness facilities in more than 125 communities and 60 colleges and universities throughout the United States. Sixty of his projects have been published in leading trade and design journals, and his work has earned 40 design excellence awards. Steve has authored numerous articles and is a regular speaker at recreation and athletic industry conventions across the country.



  • The REC of Grapevine Texas
  • The Marq Southlake Texas
  • Richland Hills Community Center  Texas
  • The Woodlands 50M Olympic Pool at Bear Branch Park Study Texas
  • Hobbs Health, Wellness and Learning Center  New Mexico
  • Provo Community Recreation Center  Utah
  • Olathe Community Center  Kansas
  • Bentonville Community Center  Arkansas
  • Loveland Recreation Facilities Study  Colorado
  • Windsor Community Recreation Center Expansion  Colorado
  • Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center  Thornton, Colorado
  • Thornton Recreation Centers Analysis  Colorado
  • Paul Derda Recreation Center  Broomfield, Colorado
  • The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Centers  Salem, Oregon; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Augusta, Georgia; Phoenix, Arizona; Quincy, Illinois; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Staten Island, New York; Honolulu, Hawaii; Suisun City, California; Omaha, NE Renovation and Addition; San Diego, CA Master Plan Additions
Fun Facts About Steve

Favorite Place to Play

SCUBA diving in the Cayman Islands

Favorite Place to Visit

Hiking in Arches National Park, Utah

Favorite Place to Eat

Meritage at the Omni Resort in Broomfield, Colorado

Favorite Place to Relax

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Favorite Place to Learn

Alongside my peers and clients in the recreation industry

Favorite Milkshake on the Planet

Papa's Burgers - Peanut Butter Chocolate, Houston, Texas

Steve's Activities


  • Juror: Recreation Management Magazine Innovative Architecture & Design Awards, 2005, 2008, 2010
  • Design Critic: University of Colorado at Boulder School of Architecture, South Campus Athletics Master Plan, 2008
  • Mentor: University of Colorado Denver Graduate School of Architecture, 2006
  • Design Critic: University of Kansas School of Architecture & Urban Design, 2004
  • Judge: Athletic Business Magazine Facility of Merit Awards, 2002

Speaking Engagements

  • 2015 Texas Recreation and Parks Society Institute: “Community Recreation Center Design Glitches and Building Blunders”
  • 2014 Texas Recreation and Parks Society Institute: “Faster. Cheaper. Better.: Build a Recreation Center by Making the Right Decisions at the Right Time”
  • 2013 Texas Recreation and Parks Society Institute: “Innovation and Evolution: The Future of Community Recreation Centers”
  • 2012 Colorado Parks & Recreation Association: “Dude, That’s a Cool Pool”
  • 2012 University of Northern Colorado: “Innovation and Evolution: The Future of Recreation Center Design”
  • 2010 National Kroc Community Center Conference: “Innovation 7.0 the Seven Agents of Change”
  • 2010 Metro State College of Denver: “Architectural Design of Recreation Facilities”
  • 2010 Texas Recreation & Parks Society Institute: “Recreation Center Renovations: Bringing New Life to an Old Center”
  • 2009 Metro State College of Denver: “An Introduction to LEED & Green Building Design for Recreation Facilities”


  • 2010 Recreation Management: “Enhance the Quality of Life of Your Rec Center”
  • 2010 Recreation Management: “Pointing to the Future: The Salvation Army Kroc Center, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho”
  • 2004 Aquatics International: “Virtually Amazing: Leisure Pool of the Future”
  • 2002 Athletic Business: “Private Lessons: Special Needs Changing Rooms,” with Craig Bouck
  • 2001 Athletic Business: “Wired Learning,” with Craig Bouck & Eric Nielsen
Steve's Registrations


  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Kansas
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Texas



  • Green Building Certification Institute LEED® Accreditation
Steve's Education

University of Kansas

Bachelor of Architecture, with Distinction

University of Colorado Denver Graduate School of Public Policy

Denver Community Leadership Forum

Talk to Steve


303.455.1366 x140



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