“The University of Winnipeg is committed to renewing downtown Winnipeg, encouraging active living and promoting health and wellness in our corner of the world,” said UWinnipeg President and Vice-Chancellor Lloyd Axworthy at a ceremony this morning marking the start of construction. “We thank the Government of Manitoba for its support in this project and its commitment to enhancing facilities which will contribute to healthy lifestyles of our students, staff and faculty and our community.”
The expansion of the Duckworth Centre will include a new 6,000 square-foot personal fitness centre on the ground and second floors equipped with state-of-the-art weight training and cardio equipment. As well, more than 1,000 square feet of new retail space will be added on the ground level for a student-operated coffee business, a Powerland Computers outlet, an expanded Wesmen sports shop, along with additional offices and classroom facilities. In addition, the University’s athletic therapy clinic in the basement will double in size.
The project is being funded with nearly $1.5 million in support from the Province of Manitoba’s specified capital fund – a $14-million fund originally announced in 2003 -combined with rents from retail tenants and revenues from a new student athletic levy. Earlier this year, UWinnipeg students overwhelmingly approved a $35-annual athletic levy in a referendum. As a result, students will get full access to these enhanced fitness facilities, while UWinnipeg faculty, staff and the community-at-large can make use of the centre for a very modest annual fee.
The construction project is being managed by The University of Winnipeg Community Renewal Corporation (UWCRC) which was established to develop initiatives that represent university and community interests; Prairie Architects is the project architect and ManShield Construction was the successful bidder for the construction work.
The expanded Duckworth Centre also represents a boost for UWinnipeg’s nationally-recognized Departments of Kinesiology and Applied Health, Recreation and Athletic Services, and Wesmen sports teams.
“When the construction is complete, our Wesmen basketball and volleyball teams will have a revamped and more functional fitness and kinesiology facility that will better serve their needs,” said Bill Wedlake, Director of Recreation and Athletic Services.
Furthermore, as part of UWinnipeg’s sustainability policy, the fir trees on the east side of the Duckworth Centre have been moved to another location on campus, rather than being chopped down.
“This is a sign of the strong commitment of The University of Winnipeg to an environmentally sustainable environment,” said Axworthy. “Moving established trees rather than destroying them sends a clear message that environment stewardship remains foremost in our redevelopment plans,”
Construction crews have already begun preparing the current building for the new addition at the south-east corner and east side on Spence Street. While construction is underway, access to the Duckworth Centre will be modified. Please visit www.uwinnipeg.ca for updates on construction activities. Work is expected to be completed by October 2007, followed by the installation of the interior facilities and equipment.