Athletic complex set for August

(Photo by Nick Lachance)

(Photo by Nick Lachance)

According to Peter Baxter, Wilfrid Laurier’s director of athletics and recreation, the Athletic Complex fitness centre expansion that began in September is on pace to meet its mid-August completion deadline.

Despite minor obstructions, the demand for the expansion has been apparent based on the highest traffic ever recorded at Laurier.

“The AC should be available for us to take possession at the beginning of August and will be accessible for students in the fall,” Baxter said.

“The main factor was constructing the steel framing and rooftop,” he continued. “Within the next two weeks, the facility will be water tight with glass and that should accelerate the construction schedule.”

The fitness center expansion includes an additional 11,000 square feet to the structure and $400,000 worth of equipment. The two-storey expansion relocates the cardio machinery to the second level and enlarges the current weight rooms on the ground floor.

Both a fitness-assessment testing area and wellness-program area will also be unveiled, according to the department of athletics and recreation.

Essentially, the fitness centre will be doubled in size.

Despite minor issues with leakage and excess water, the AC has experienced its highest traffic ever recorded with 17,000 students per week using its amenities. Students and student-athletes have adapted to the minor interferences as a result of the construction. Overall, the transition has been relatively smooth, according to Baxter.

Most recently, the AC experienced a $4.3-million expansion that tripled its size back in 2005.

Due to the rapid growth of Laurier’s Waterloo campus, the size of the current facility has not successfully accommodated the traffic. Particularly at the beginning of each semester, capacity has been reached in the building.

Baxter expressed no concerns in terms of high-traffic difficulties during final examinations in April.

“We’ve already experienced this in January,” said Baxter. “We don’t plan on relocating entrances to the AC during final exams.”

“Originally we’d thought that the entrance would be relocated, but we’ve had good news maintaining the passageway at the main entrance through the expansion process.”

Contractors and construction workers made a conscious effort to not obstruct students’ programming and access to the facilities throughout the expansion process, claimed Baxter. The operational hours have remained consistent throughout the expansion that began in August.

From June until mid-August, the fitness centre will be closed to do the interior construction and final procedures. It will remain closed until the athletics department is given possession.

Throughout the months leading up to its completion deadline in early August, finishing touches will take place on the AC. However, during that time, part of the facility will remain open to accommodate for the summer students and users. Cardio equipment and weights will still be available in different areas of the building.

“I’m pleased with our progress on the expansion,” said Baxter.

The fitness centre completion deadline is officially Aug. 15.

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