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Ernest & Betty Becker Family Technology Center and Recreation Park

Awards Category

Commercial Architecture - Built

Project Summary

The Ernest & Betty Becker Family Technology Center and Recreation Park is located in the heart of Las Vegas on the site of the former Charleston Heights Park. The City of Las Vegas tasked the design team to create a technology focused community center while also revitalizing the existing park with new equipment and features. To preserve the established feeling of the park as many mature trees were kept as was feasible. The roughly 6,000SF building consists of administrative offices, a STEM room/maker space, eSports room, flex classroom, multimedia room, and indoor and outdoor restrooms. The building is fitted out with 3D printers, computers, gaming systems, podcast and DJing equipment, and video editing tools in order to provide a wide range of programs to visitors of all ages.

Project Narrative

In the northwest area of the Las Vegas valley is a small 3.92 acre neighborhood park called Charleston Heights. Originally developed in 1981, the park is now severely underutilized. Its two tennis courts are cracked, the nets torn down long ago. The playgrounds are vacant of children. Although a small restroom building sits in the middle of the park, the lack of stall doors renders it unusable. And yet, the park is loved. Weekday afternoons bring life to the park as the nearby middle school lets out. A group of teens start a game of pickup basketball. Others practice skateboarding on the small plaza. Some simply pass through - cutting across the park is the fastest route from the school to the nearby housing developments. A weekend morning draws a different crowd. Dog walkers and early risers are eager to tell how long they’ve lived in the area, how long they’ve been coming to the park, how they love it despite its flaws. How they wish it could live up to its potential. The Bolden Area Command of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department heard these comments and took particular interest in bringing a second life to the park. Charleston Heights falls within their jurisdiction; therefore, they were very aware of the undesirable activities taking place in the neglected park. Rather than recommending the park be shut down or gated closed, Bolden urged the city to improve the park, specifically by giving troubled youth a place to go when they otherwise may have been out on the streets. The Becker Tech Center was born. Through outreach sessions with students at J. Harold Brinley Middle School and Cimarron Memorial High School, as well as local parents, teachers, and allies, a program began to take form. A maker space gives students access to 3D printers and fabrication tools, inspired in part by Cimarron’s award-winning robotics team. A multimedia room provides opportunities for podcasting, DJing, and video content creation. The esports room allows for a greater reach into the entertainment sphere, while a flex classroom offers crucial computer and life skills training to residents of all ages who lack proper access to these valuable resources. The park itself retains, but improves upon, its most beloved features. The aging basketball court is replaced by a low maintenance, durable, integral color concrete surface. Interactive, educational play features take the place of the outdated play structures. New shade structures dot the park, while a meandering, well-lit path weaves its way through it all. New additions put the park not just in line with, but ahead of, current recreation standards. WiFi access is provided to every corner for a connected experience. Infrastructure is provided for projecting movies, using the building itself as the screen, for movies in the park, as well as the integration of smart exercise stations. The Center is the culmination of the efforts of an entire community to bring to life a space they collectively take pride in.

Sustainable Design & Materials

Materials have been selected above all for durability and ease of maintenance. Shot blast CMU activates the facade with light, shadow, and texture, all without sacrificing material resiliency. Splashes of colored EIFS provides further depth while mirroring the colors found in the desert plants in the site. Perforated metal screen structures intersect with the building volume at irregular angles, creating interest at the entries. Interior materials keep in mind the function of the project. Sealed concrete floors throughout the corridors, restrooms, and STEM room will stand the test of time as many eager feet trod them in the coming decades. The ceilings in the corridor and STEM room are left exposed, urging eager young minds to take notice of the bones of the building. Materials are softened in the multimedia and eSports rooms. Carpet flooring, ACT ceilings, and acoustic wall panels control sound to better allow for audio and video content creation. Sustainable Design: • LEED silver equivalency • acoustically treated spaces • airwalls allow for flexible spaces • maintain existing mature trees • maintain existing grading and stormwater management • water efficient netafim drip irrigation system • infrastructure in place for smart park workout stations • interactive play equipment contribute to physical, mental, and social health • infrastructure in place for electric vehicle charging stations • integration of future rooftop photovoltaic array • wifi integrated site lighting

Project Stats

Square Feet


Green Building Designation(s)

Date of Completion

April 2023

Project Location

2221 Maverick St, Las Vegas, NV 89108, USA

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