How Understanding Operations Can Inform Design

How Understanding Operations Can Inform Design

We recently had the opportunity to work as volunteer staff at the BRS-designed Erie Community Center in nearby Erie, Colorado for an afternoon. It gave us a unique opportunity to discover the day-to-day challenges experienced by building operators a few years after one of our facilities has been open.

My colleague, Angelo, and I accompanied Erie Community Center staff members Ed and Scott, who head up the maintenance crew, about their daily routines. We observed the daily checks they perform when opening the building, ensuring all systems are operating properly. We learned about one particular challenge they encountered with their solar hot water system that heats the pool: The system is so efficient that, when doing pool maintenance during the first few years, there was nowhere to reroute the excess heat when the volume of water was reduced. Now, that excess heat is routed to the outdoor splash pad area, which is sees lots of activity during the summer months, when the most substantial pool maintenance takes place.

In addition to gleaning some insights into the MEP systems, we learned about how various materials are holding up over time and the challenges of cleaning and maintaining some of those materials. For instance, the composite wood beams in the lobby space have a rough texture, presenting a challenge when dusting their hard-to-reach surfaces. Like many of our other facilities, Erie is slowly changing out carpet in the public corridors and replacing it with more durable tile.

All in all, it was a great chance to learn some lessons that we can now incorporate into future community centers.

Posted on February 26, 2013 at 06:33pm

Tags: operations (2), materials (5), lessons learned (3), community recreation center (31)

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