Low or No-Subsidy, Self-Sustaining Community Recreation Center


Designer Brian Beckler on the center's contextual design influences:


“The rock formations and landscape of the Badlands have a very distinct look and texture. We wanted to emulate the color palette and richness of the area to create something interesting, but also familiar,” he says. Burnt orange, red, burgundy and black from the banded Badlands geography highlight the exterior, while building forms and roof lines take their shapes from the surrounding agricultural and farming architecture".


Other design influences:

§  Dinosaur fossils from the Western Interior Seaway  present during the Cretaceous period

§  the windswept prairie of the Great Plains

§  agricultural and farming history of the area

§  Native American heritage



In 2014, the West River Community Center in Dickinson, North Dakota expanded from its original 78,000 square feet to more than 120,000 square feet plus 2 acres of outdoor water park.  But the story of the community center goes back all the way to 2001, well before the fracking boom, when Dickinson residents voted to build a community recreation center that would meet the needs of residents, but also attract new citizens to the area and foster economic growth in southwestern North Dakota. 

The plan called for a comprehensive facility with a full range of amenities which was garnered from dozens of focus group meetings, hundreds of individual resident comments and many local business leaders' input. One thing became clear - this facility would be the focal point for the Dickinson community and a source of great community pride.