Work on $35 million facility to be essentially finished by summer
By Mark Newman, News Staff
Officials at Mohawk College expect to begin moving into the much-anticipated $35 million recreation centre this summer.
“We’ve been very fortunate with great weather,” said Wayne Poirier, vice president of student services, who noted the two-and-a-half storey, 64,000 square-foot facility that’s been going up on the west side of the Fennell campus since last April, is nearly two-thirds finished. “We’re looking to enclose the building this month which will allow us to start working on the interior of the building.”
Poirier said the new rec centre’s three gymnasiums with NBA-size basketball courts, two of which will have pull-out seating for about 1,000 spectators, plus the 14,000 square-foot fitness centre with an indoor running track on the second floor, should make it easier for the college to attract new students for the varsity sports teams and students seeking good intramural sports and recreation activities to complement their studies.
“We’re going from one of the oldest facilities to one of the best in the province,” Poirier said. “If sport and fitness are important to students, before Mohawk might not have been their top choice, it will now be one of the top choices for sure.”
Poirier said having three gymnasiums, one of which will be devoted to student recreation, should eliminate late evening practices that have been a way of life for the varsity teams that have been sharing the Fennel gym.
The facility will include all new furnishings including: weights and exercise equipment, netting, scoreboards and public address systems.
Outdoor volleyball and basketball courts are slated to go in on the south side of the building which will also be the new home of the Mohawk College Athletics Hall-of Fame.
A second floor enclosed bridge will connect the rec centre to the nearby student centre.
Poirier noted the building should be essentially finished by June, which will allow for an eight to 12 week period for moving in, staff training and any final construction work that is required.
He said the new facility will be open by the time students return after Labour Day.
Cost of the new recreation centre will be covered by a $65 student activity fee that will be added to their tuition costs starting in September.
While work continues on the Mohawk Recreation Centre, the college has begun preparing part of the Fennell campus for about 1,000 health and wellness and law and security students who will begin attending the west Mountain location next September after those programs are moved to Hamilton from Mohawk’s Brantford campus.
Poirier said the $15 million facelift includes adding a third storey of classroom space above the mezzanine level at the Fennell gym.
The rest of the gymnasium will be converted into classroom and lab space for law and security students.
Most of the demolition and construction will be done over the spring and summer months and be concluded in time for the beginning of the fall semester.
Poirier said many of the college’s athletic staffers have been shifted to other, temporary locations on the campus.
New lab space is also in the works for the B-wing on the east side of the college and the now empty former college book store in the F-wing will be converted into lab space for health and wellness students.