Dal athletes gone before new facilities built

Current students are excited about new athletic facilities, but they might not be around long enough to enjoy the changes.

by Hanna McLean

Dal athletes can expect great changes in their campus facilities. An air-supported bubble covering Wickwire Field, physiotherapy clinics, and two 2,500-seat basketball courts among them. Current students are excited about construction, but they might not be around long enough to enjoy the changes.

Dalhousie officials have about ten years of construction ahead of them. The fitness facilities are only one part of the plan for Dalhousie’s makeover, which extends to everything from traffic stops to students hubs.

The plan eliminates the Studley Gymnasium, converts the Sexton Memorial Gymnasium into a large assembly and lecture hall, and arranges team facilities for arena and Wickwire Field athletes.

There will also be a 149,000 square foot addition to the Dalplex, featuring the basketball courts, clinics for fitness, physiotherapy, wellness and sports medicine, a welcome centre, lounge and trophy exhibit, a daycare, as well as classrooms and offices for the Department of Health and Human Performance.

Dalhousie is implementing its campus development plan to keep the student population growing, but before it does, it wants to hear from current students. Throughout the month of March, the project development team is holding consultation sessions to get a better idea of the changes students would like to see.

“The first sessions, we had a less than anticipated turn out, some people said it was disappointing, so we changed our strategy and started going to where the students are, residences, classes, and the Dalplex,” says Nathan Rogers, Dalhousie’s new assistant director of capital planning.

Kinesiology student and frequent Dalplex user Jessie Bauer said at one consultation session, “I’d like to see more accessible and up-to-date cardio equipment and maybe some more classes like hot yoga, spinning, or body pump. Also some more sports-like facilities like updates to the squash courts and basketball courts.”

“There’s been a lot of talk about expansion of cardio space, that’s a well known issue,” says Rogers, “other highlights that I’ve heard about regularly are increases to the size of the climbing area, specifically being able to do top roping and bouldering, as well as dance studio space, yoga space.”

The students have spoken, and they had tons of requests to add to the already long list of changes, “This is a great new facility that’s going to have all kinds of natural light. Something that the students have been talking about is how depressing or dank the Dalplex can feel at times, so having a brand new sparkling facility that’s accessible, has lots of input from students, is for me the greatest part of this project,” says Rogers.