The gym of the future

With the steady expansion of the Laurier Brantford campus comes the problem of a campus population outgrowing its infrastructure.

Whether it is the amount of residences, classrooms or student spaces, Laurier Brantford has been forced to increase production on new facilities to accommodate the increasing student body. Lucy Marco Place Residence was an example of this increased production in 2008 as were the two Research and Academic Centre wings built over the past two years.

However, another topic of concern is Laurier Brantford’s athletic facility; the small and often cramped Wilkes Recreation Centre located on the south side of Darling. A building consisting of an undersized gym and one that has neglected to include a single barbell in its weight room, it would be generous to even attempt to compare it to other school facilities around the province. And yet, while some older students have fled to local gyms in the surrounding area, there is hope for incoming students and applicants of the future with a brand new, 130,000 square foot facility projected to be ready for use in September 2014.

As for the development, it has been a slow process with many components to work through, but Greg Stewart, Manager of Athletics and Recreation at Laurier Brantford says progress is being made.

“From my vantage point we have completed level one of many levels to come. We have completed a schematic, one dimensional design,” says Stewart.

Laurier Brantford received 16.6 million dollars from the provincial government last year but Stewart admits that the school will need some support from the municipal government as well. With plans to build the complex on Colborne street, where an eyesore of run down buildings once stood, the new athletic centre will be built in partnership with the YMCA.

The concept design report states that the complex is being built with a future student population of 15,000.

“We have plans on paper we can actually talk about. We need to build it big to accommodate the future growth (of the campus).” says Stewart.

Stewart insists this is a complex for the students and that the planned referendums and campaigns planned are student driven, including the YES campaign headed by fourth year student Nick Savage.

The facility is to include multiple gymnasiums, a track, fitness centre, volleyball courts, multi-purpose rooms, a pool and squash courts, as well as a student lounge, offices and concessions. According to Stewart, if built according to plan, this facility will “blow others out of the water” once finished and ready for use. The new facility is also planned to be able to hold OCAA men’s and women’s basketball that will be joining Laurier Brantford for the 2014-2015 season.

Certainly impressive, the plans for this new athletic complex will make faculty and students forget about the current recreation centre woes that houses Laurier Brantford’s students. The Laurier Brantford/YMCA joint athletic complex will be the support system for the continuing growth of the student population at Laurier Brantford.

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