KAI Design & Build provided architectural, mechanical, and electrical design services on the nearly complete, new $10.5 million Southeast Community Center in Kansas City, Mo; the structural/civil engineering firm for the project was DuBois Consultants, Inc., Kansas City, Mo. Designed to LEED Silver standards, the new facility utilizes several environmentally friendly features including the latest in ground source heat pumps, low-water-use faucets, and a rain garden to filter and recycle stormwater run off.

The new center replaces a nearby community center built in the early 1950s. The new facility is significantly larger than the former one and includes more activities and services not previously available. The new community center can now serve a larger population of the community and has activities for all age groups from toddlers to seniors. Some of the new facility’s amenities include:

  • A 11,000-square-foot gymnasium
  • Natatorium with activity pool, swim spa, and therapy pool
  • Separate sauna and steam rooms for men and women
  • Separate fitness areas for weights and aerobics
  • Ceramics room
  • Seniors activity room
  • Teen activity room
  • Toddler room
  • Classroom
  • Multi-purpose meeting rooms with kitchen
  • Lounge with fireplace

KAI Design & Build incorporated many environmentally friendly features into its design, including a ground source heat pump. In the summer, the heat from the building is transferred into the earth through a continuous loop of piping located under the building’s parking lot, which in turn helps to cool the building. In the winter, the cycle is reversed and the heat is extracted from the earth, which is then used to heat the building.

Project Architect John Cahill estimates that the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department, which owns and operates the building, will see a 20-percent decrease in energy costs by utilizing the heat pump system, as compared with a conventional HVAC system.

"What makes this system unique is that it is a geo-source heat pump and not an ambient air heat pump," Cahill said. "Because we are taking advantage of the earth’s relatively constant temperature of around 68 degrees just below the surface, it means that we only need to raise or lower the temperature a few degrees to heat or cool the building. This allows us to use smaller and more efficient heating and cooling equipment that would normally not work on a building this size."

KAI helped the city save more than $75,000 on the project by utilizing a stormwater runoff recycling system rather than using costly underground sewer piping. With the system, stormwater runoff from the roof and parking lots is channeled through a series of bio-filters and eventually into a rain garden where it is detained and allowed to recharge the local aquifer.

Other energy-saving features incorporated into the building’s design include day lighting in a number of spaces to reduce the need for artificial illumination during the day; Energy Star-compliant light fixtures; low-water-use faucets, showerheads and toilets; waterless urinals; drought-tolerant plants; and minimal irrigation. Several of the indoor finishes specified contain recycled materials. Additionally, the contractor was responsible for separating a minimum of 50 percent of the waste generated during construction so that it could be recycled and not disposed in the local landfill.

Other companies that collaborated on the project included:
General Contractor—Titan Construction, Olathe, Kan.
Plumbing Engineering—Custom Engineering, Independence, Mo.
Landscape Architecture—Michael Ashley & Associates, Kansas City, Mo.
Local Contract Administration—Eric Rush