Fitness enthusiasts can put their New Year’s resolutions into practice in the new Western Student Recreation Centre this week.
Over the holidays, University of Western Ontario Campus Recreation staff worked tirelessly to put the finishing touches on much of the Western Student Recreation Centre, getting it ready to open on Monday, Jan. 5.
During the first week as the centre comes up to speed, the much-anticipated $35-million facility will be partially open for students, staff and faculty members to access the weight and cardio equipment in the fitness centre and the gym and squash courts from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Spin bike classes and building tours will also be available.
“We are a go for Monday,” says Gitta Kulczycki, Western Vice-President (Resources & Operations). “We really have something that is really a dream come true.”
The facility will be open Friday, Jan. 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., but will close until Jan. 12 to allow staff to participate in a full training session.
The Western Student Recreation Centre will open for normal operating hours beginning Jan. 12 at 6 a.m.
In spite of a few challenges in construction, the 160,000-square-foot facility – one of the largest of its kind at a Canadian university – recently received the green light from city building inspectors to occupy the space.
“People worked really hard to get this done,” says Kulczycki. “It will be one of the most outstanding facilities of its kind in the country.”
Some areas remain under construction.
The 50-metre swimming pool is slated to be complete in the first week of February. A few other areas, including miscellaneous classroom space, are also in the final stages. As a result of this on-going construction some areas may not be accessible at all times.
“It’s normal in a construction project that there will be lots of finishing work, but not anything that will impede students from using it,” she says.
Campus Recreation manager Gareth Cunningham says the building’s success will be measured by the number of people who use the facility.
There are currently close to 20,000 people who have accessed campus recreation services. “If we see that stay the same, if not climb, I think we will see the success of the building,” he says.
The large facility will enable flexibility in program growth to meet the users’ needs, he adds. It will also provide a safe and enjoyable work environment for Campus Recreation staff, the majority of which are students.
“We are excited to get people through the doors,” he says. “It’s a much more friendly place to meet those (fitness and social) goals and a complement to the student experience.”
Operating hours as of Jan. 12 will be:
Monday to Thursday – 6 a.m. to midnight
Friday – 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday – 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday – 8 a.m. to midnight
Students are reminded to bring their Western 1 Card to access to the new centre. New memberships will be available for purchase beginning Jan. 12.
Visit campusrec.uwo.ca for further details on the programming and membership information at the new Western Student Recreation Centre.