AC construction deals with minor delays

(Photo by Lily Shui).
(Photo by Lily Shui)

Wilfrid Laurier’s Athletic Complex (AC) has been under construction for the past six months.

Despite minor issues and a few inconveniences with students, the project has slowly moved toward completion.

Peter Baxter, the director of athletics and recreation at WLU, explained that five million dollars has been invested in reconstructing the AC. Construction started in August of 2012 and is expected to be complete in August of this year.

“We’re going to double the size,” Baxter said. “Currently, we have just close to 11,000 square feet and the space itself adds another 10,950.”

The plan is to completely redesign the layout of the AC. It will add an entire second level to the centre, increase floor space, create two new fitness studios and allow for more equipment and machines.

Part of the reason why Laurier is looking to improve its recreational facilities is because of the rapid student population growth.

With more than 17,000 users coming in and out of the AC each week, the building is beginning to play the role of a community centre.

Proudly displaying the floor plans and mock-ups, Baxter explained that six months from now, the AC would be unrecognizable.

“It opens it up to be more welcoming,” he said, showing the probable lobby sketch. “[The front desk] will be one stop where you’ll get your towels, equipment rentals, locks, tickets, registration, intramural packages, dance classes.”

Other features of the new layout will also include a multimedia wall with Smart TVs, glass walls, private consultation rooms for personal training, more bathrooms and a WLU history wall.

Baxter also mentioned that there will be an extra $400,000 invested in brand-new equipment.

“Right now we want to take possession [of the AC] the first week of August so that we can get our student leaders who work in there accustomed,” Baxter said.

“We want to be there when all the students come back in September.”

In terms of construction, there has only been one minor delay at the beginning of the process. When laying the steel down, there was a large amount of water flowing back, so the construction company had to build well reservoirs outside to pump out the water.

Since then, the construction company is back on schedule.

However, the renovations have caused some concerns among the student population.

Rebecca, a third-year kinesiology student who did not disclose her last name, thinks the construction is problematic to frequent gym-goers. “A few times I’ve seen construction workers walking through the gym and it’s really noisy,” she said. “It’s like being in a lecture and where you can’t hear yourself think and there’s people walking in and out.

“Right now the conditions of the gym are just horrible”. Olga Jovnyruk, a third-year political science student considers herself a non-user of the AC facilities.

“I don’t even go to the gym,” she joked. “But all this construction makes it even less appealing.”

Baxter assured that the outside construction should be finished by the spring, and that interior renovations will happen during the summer months when the population on campus decreases.

However, in terms of the construction becoming an inconvenience to the student body, Baxter revealed that facility usage is actually on the rise.

He claims that over 100 intramural teams were registered with the recreation program since 2011 when the project first started.

“It’s not as aesthetically pleasing,” he admitted. “But at the end of the day, it’s going to look gorgeous.

“That’s the price of progress,” Baxter wants the new building to be a source of unity for the school. “We want to be inclusive,” he said.

“Making sure that it’s welcoming not just to the athletic community but to the entire community. That’s what makes a building, not just the bricks.”

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