By: Steven Chmielash
With a student population projected to keep growing and a gym facility that hasn’t been renovated in over 17 years, plans are in place to build a new triple gym.
Ron Port, director of athletic operations, proposed the triple gym idea.
“I’ve been here a long time and we haven’t done anything for our athletes or for the students,” said Port.
The last time Algonquin’s gym facilities were renovated was in 1996 and considering the constant growth in student population, demands to use the gym facilities have also grown.
“We went from a single gym to one and a half but we obviously need much more than that. For a college our size, this gym is not up to the standards,” said Port.
Past SA president David Corson agreed.
“We’re meeting that next need because we’ve been hearing about it for a couple of years,” he said.
The athletics program has been restricted in its ability to grow its varsity and intramural programming as there is no room available in the current gym.
Athletics has had to turn away some of the community leagues access to the gym on evenings and weekends.
“We used to have community renting the later times here and we used to do about $60,000-$80,000 which I used to put back into programming. Then, because our programs wanted more and more time, I had to kick them all out,” said Port.
The problem with the current gym is its capacity. Facilities for activities are as essential as an academic classroom space in a student’s life.
“I’d say it started in 2010. That’s when we started to look at it because we’d outgrown our present facilities,” said Port.
Even though there are plans in place, details are still being ironed out. Ideally, Port would like to see the project started and the ground broken sometime next year.
The proposed new facility will house three gyms.
The gyms would be primarily used for the college’s varsity basketball and volleyball team’s practices and games. The secondary gyms would be used for recreational purposes by the student body and rented out to various community organizations.
One of the gyms would have a telescoping bleacher which would seat upwards of 1,200 spectators, a possible rock climbing wall and lastly, a suspended running track.
Besides the three gyms, the facility would also have a training centre, reception desk, ticket sales counter, athletic offices, hospitality and concession stands, a multi-purpose room, coaches’ offices, taping room to review game film and a breakout room where the athletes will gather before their games.
The new gym would also house a taping room for the sports therapists and eight separate locker rooms; one for the general public; four for the men and women’s varsity teams; two for the visiting opponents and one room for the officials.
Given the fact that students already pay a $200.50 student activity and sports fee every term, according to Port, this will not be increased as a result of a proposed new gym.
The budget for this project is estimated approximately $15-16 million.
The construction costs alone are estimated at $12 million while the softs costs like building permits, insurance, design and inspection, IT and security, legal, project manager, consultants and new equipment is budgeted at around $1.6-1.7 million.
Although, the projected budget might seem a bit high, keep in mind that the budget for the student commons was $52 million and according to Corson, it was done “on time and under budget.”
While the location of the new facility is still being discussed, the “concept is over between A and B-building, off the Fitness Zone where that’s located. There’s that big open area at the corner of Woodroffe and Navaho,” said Corson.
Another artist rendering of the new gym has it being built adjacent to the Student Commons.
Port just wants the gym to be built in a central location that would be accessible to all the students and they wouldn’t have to go outside in order to get there.
Even if the above specifications materialize or are changed before it’s officially signed off, a new gym facility on campus is eminent.
Port is adamant and passionate about this project.
“We’ve got to make a move sometime, so why not now when we can do it,” said Port.