Mapping out the AC expansion

Grand opening ceremony on Nov. 13. (Photo by Heather Davidson)
Grand opening ceremony on Nov. 13. (Photo by Heather Davidson)

Peter Baxter, director of athletics and recreation at Wilfrid Laurier University said, “if you build it, people will come.” On Nov. 13, people came to the newly renovated fitness centre which saw $5 million worth of renovations put into it since Aug. 1, 2012. The money came from the student life levy (SLL) after a referendum was passed in Kyle Walker’s year as Students’ Union president, and was collected during the 2011 fiscal year. The grand reopening on Nov. 13 featured notable people that helped with the project over the last few years, including current Students’ Union president Annie Constantinescu. The fitness centre is nearly doubled in size at more than 20,000 square feet and features nearly $800,000 in more equipment and a larger, open lobby featuring a mural of the history of Laurier athletics.

October 14, 2010
Reported that $62.02 from comprehensive student services fees is given to athletics per semester.

January 19, 2011
Baxter estimates the expansion will cost between $5.2 and $5.5 million, but no timetable is set.

February 9, 2011
Referendum for fitness centre expansion passes in election. Each student paid $40.00 into the SLL per semester in 2011. Party chair for the fitness centre expansion component of the SLL Matthew Rice said the AC will “provide new opportunities in every aspect of [students’] health and wellness.”

May 18, 2011
Volleyball program is cut at WLU. Head coach Shayne White questions funding. “The issue seems to be space for intramurals. Well if that’s the issue, why did they put forth a referendum to add $5 million in expansion to the athletic complex, but nothing toward the gymnasium?” The project will see the fitness centre expanded to include new equipment and a second floor to the AC.

May 30, 2012
The $5-million dollar project’s plans are finalized.

June 27, 2012
Students anxiously await the expansion. “People use the AC every day to train, play intramurals and practice for varsity sports,” Laura Tichonchuk, a second-year kinesiology student said. “If that space is limited, people may not be as motivated. However in the long run, the gym will be bigger and better to accommodate everyone’s needs.”

January 23, 2013Six months into the project. 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.

April 3, 2013
Deadline to open set for Aug. 15th.

July 31, 2013There is an alteration in the original deadline of Aug. 15; the expansion now moves toward a deadline of late August to early September because of challenging winter and spring months with lots of rain and melting snow.

September 1, 2013
The completion date of the fitness centre has been pushed back to mid-September from Aug. 15, when only partial accessibility will be permitted to students.

Completed fitness centre. (Photo by Heather Davidson)
Completed fitness centre. (Photo by Heather Davidson)

November 13, 2013
Grand opening of the AC.


The first thing we’re doing is addressing the capacity issue … when you build it, people will come.
– Peter Baxter, director of athletics and recreation

Anybody who has used the gym before, especially in January during ‘New Years’ resolution season,’ knows that it needs more workout space. While a full year of construction is going to be an inconvenience, I believe that the end result will be worth it.
– Jordan Epstein, Laurier student

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