COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- Last week, the campus recreation center at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, received Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design (LEED) gold certification status from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The $12 million, 54,000-square-foot rec center was designed to be 30 percent more energy efficient and 38 percent more water efficient than comparable, conventionally built facilities. That efficiency should save about $30,000 annually in utility bills, campus officials say.

The center opened in August 2007 and features rooftop solar panels to heat the swimming pool, insulated concrete form walls, built-in recycling stations and native landscaping. In addition, the rec center has a swimming pool, basketball courts, exercise rooms and panoramic views of Pikes Peak.

University officials say that the recreation center is the first public building in southern Colorado to earn LEED gold certification status.