Green is the word for Cleveland State.

Work has begun on its new $29-million recreation center that promises to be energy efficient and made from environmentally friendly materials and wood from certified forests.

Construction crews made way for the new 130,000-square-foot center with the demolition of the Intramural Sports Dome in mid-January. Slated for completion in August 2006, the new center will contain basketball courts, racquetball and squash courts, weight training and fitness areas, an indoor jogging track, locker rooms, multi-purpose rooms, a 50-space underground parking garage, and an adjacent 400-car parking garage. Recreation center users will also have direct access to two pools in the university’s Natatorium. Students will be able to use the facility for free.

The new rec center is part of a campus master plan to conserve materials and energy. The center will make ample use of natural daylight as well as solar energy in some areas, along with sun shields to protect other areas from overheating.

Some 80 percent of the materials from the demolished dome, including the concrete foundation and aluminum structure, will be recycled, and much of the dome’s lighting and equipment was salvaged for future use. When the recreation center is completed, the university will seek to have it certified by the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System, a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. Outside the building, the school plans to plant a grove of birch trees with various perennials, ground cover and lawn.

The overall campus master plan calls for more housing, retail outlets, green space and parking garages on the university campus, as well as more interaction with the surrounding community.