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Center of Recreational Excellence (CORE)


CORE – Making Hobbs, NM Famous (and a Community Healthier) Since 2018

For a hot minute in 1930, Hobbs, New Mexico, was the fastest growing town in America. Located in the high desert four miles west of the Texas border, Hobbs boomed after two massively productive oil strikes. Then came the Depression and the bust, and it’s been lather-rinse-repeat ever since.

Today Hobbs is a self-described “oil and gas town”– it sits atop the Permian Basin – with a population of 50,000, two colleges, a heritage museum, and a racetrack.

Awesome Things Happen When Great Minds Come Together

None of that, however, constitutes the town’s primary claim to fame. Look it up any old where and the first thing you see is its 158,000-sf state-of-the-art recreation center, the CORE (Center of Recreational Excellence), completed in 2018. The Chamber of Commerce sums up the situation neatly when it calls the CORE central to Hobbs’s status as “the Permian Basin’s most livable community.”

The CORE was the brainchild of a literal Quality of Life Committee, an unusual collaboration of city and county governments, two local colleges, the school district, and a regional philanthropy, the J.F. Maddox Foundation. As the name says, committee members sought a way to better quality of life and, after years of intense and wide-ranging research, mapped out what became the CORE.

Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture (Denver, Colorado) joined with Dekker Perich Sabatini (Albuquerque) to design the eye-popping, amenity-packed facility which, the local paper says, “awes residents and visitors alike.” The challenge for Reese Hackman was to light the way for an abundance of different users – kids at the playground, runners on the track circuit, athletes on the indoor turf – and also to make it look cool.

Bringing the Outdoors In

RH designers have taken on a host of multi-use facilities in recent years and have the know-how and vision to rise to the challenge. Unique to the CORE was creating the look, lighting and charm of an outdoor pool for one actually located indoors. RH took inspiration from an outdoor facility’s distinctive glow, and supplemented with pedestrian-scale pole-mounted fixtures, aka streetlights. As for the “sky,” color-changing LEDs light the ceiling, emulating the hues of dusk in summer. The result draws not only splashers and swimmers but also cinema fans who float and enjoy weekly “dive-in movies.”

What goes around … goes around again. Today Hobbs, N.M., according to Forbes, is the seventh fastest growing region in the United States. It’s the oil? It’s the gas? Maybe the nearby uranium fields? No doubt each plays a part. And supporting the whole is what makes the place so darned livable – the CORE.