AC pushed to the fall

The new front atrium that will be the entrance into the Athletic Centre. (Photo by Heather Davidson)

The new front atrium that will be the entrance into the Athletic Centre. (Photo by Heather Davidson)

With less than a week until Wilfrid Laurier University’s 2013 orientation week, Laurier’s department of athletics and recreation let students know that they’ll be waiting longer to use the new fitness centre.

From the original deadline of Aug. 15, the completion date of the fitness centre expansion— which is expected to double the size of the current fitness centre — has been pushed back to mid-September, when only partial accessibility will be permitted to students.

“Would I have liked it to have happened so that it was all on time? Yes,” said Peter Baxter, director of athletics and recreation at Laurier. “But issues with materials and there is also a labour issue too, so unfortunately it is what it is.”

The department of athletics and recreation explained that due to “issues” with materials not arriving on time and a lack of labour in the construction trade throughout the summer, the deadline had to be pushed back.

According to Baxter, the mid-September deadline will allow students back into the initial space of the fitness centre before the expansion.

To accommodate the larger amount of students returning in September, there will be two squash courts full of equipment, as well as the multipurpose room available right away. When the initial space is available again, the squash courts and multipurpose room will continue to hold equipment, plus equipment in the initial fitness centre.

However, the full space could potentially not be available until approximately mid to late-October — two months after the initial deadline.

“We’re not in the new space yet, but we want to be able to provide alternative opportunities for people and have them coming in the building,” Ryan Lannan, coordinator of facilities said.

Despite the later deadline and the delays, Baxter and Lannan both assure that there is no additional cost on the $5-million budget that was proposed at the beginning of the project.

“The contractors do their tender and they have to stay within their price,” Baxter said.

The entrance to the athletic centre will continue to be the King St. entrance that has been used during the summer while the construction finishes up. The current desk situated at the King St. entrance will be for “integrity purposes” only, so students can show their membership card, and all inquiries and services will be provided at the current equipment desk at the lower level.

As well, Lannan said that the hours will be extended for the fitness centre on the weekends, with it opening at 9 a.m. and closing at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The centre currently opens at 11 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

“We want to give as many opportunities as we can to students when they’re coming back,” Lannan said.

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