Rendering of the new 100,000 square foot Athletics Recreation Complex (ARC) which is to be constructed opposite the front of residence and just east of the Student Commons.

Algonquin is getting a new gym complex — including a climbing wall and a bowling alley — that will be free for use for all registered students.

The Algonquin Students’ Association is building a new 100,000 square-foot structure that will host Algonquin’s new gym site. It’s the ARC – Athletics and Recreations Complex – and construction will begin with a ground-breaking as soon as April 9.

The building, which will be owned and operated by the Algonquin Students’ Association, will open in August 2021 and cost approximately $48 million to build.

The building will take up most of the lot 8 parking space directly across from the front entrance of residence and Student Commons. The layout of the building will closely resemble Auburn University’s gym.

The building will span across 250 parking spots, with athletics taking up the most area with 32,479 square feet. Athletics administration will cover 23,647, recreation 24,557 and ancillary will cover 19,317.

The preliminary plans, announced March 18 in a conference with journalism students, shows a climbing wall, three lanes of running track, eight lanes of bowling, eight billiard tables, six table tennis tables, two foosball tables, a video game central and a golf simulation area.

It is proposed to include concessions, a restaurant, a pub and two massage rooms. The layout is designed to be open and airy while including greenery. It will also have glass walls and doors.

“Architecture affects behaviour. So this building, we’re asking to make sure that when students walk by or look at it, they know it’s a student building,” said Jack Doyle, SA general manager.

On the first floor there will be a sprint incline that will turn into a discovery track. The track will weave throughout the building on the second floor, allowing its users to walk or run throughout and see from a different perspective what the building has to offer.

For athletics, there will be two gyms – one for varsity and the other for recreational – a CrossFit area, multi-purpose rooms that will have yoga classes, free weights and a lounge with an outdoor patio.

Algonquin College itself is contributing $5.5 million while the SA is putting up $14 million, with the rest being financed from a loan of over $30 million. Although it will have no user fees, students will have a $77 increase to the sports athletics fee per term.

The building will also be open to alumni but there will be a cost for them.

The money for funding of the building was already in place prior to Doug Ford’s cutbacks, SA president Deijanelle Simons said.

“The planning of the ARC has been happening for years. It was only last year that we were like ‘Okay we’re going to start operationalizing it’. We are supposed to break ground spring, I want to say April,” Simons said.

The Students’ Association and Algonquin College have partnered with HOK for architecture, PCL for construction and Collier Project Leaders as project management.

The breaking ground ceremony will take place on April 9 in E-building at 11:30 a.m.