Media Release - For Immediate Release
Saint Mary's Athletics and Recreation Facilities Get a Facelift
1 March, 2013
A three year plan to renew the University’s aging recreation facilities was announced this week.
Under the plan, which will be funded by a proposed new Athletics and Recreation fee, older sections of the Homburg Centre for Health & Wellness will be revitalized and dramatic changes are in store for Huskies Stadium.
“We take great pride in our athletics and recreation facilities. We maintain them and do our very best to ensure they meet the needs of today’s students, but there is no disputing they are beginning to show their age,” said Gabe Morrision, Vice-President Finance and Administration.
The older sections of the Homburg Centre were built in 1986 and the stadium, with its concrete bleachers, was constructed in the late 60’s.
The three year plan will begin this summer with the renovation of the men’s and women’s main locker rooms, renewal of the weight room ( including new ceiling, floor and painting), redevelopment of the steam room, and refurbishing the popular cardio room.
Next summer the focus will be on the gym. The floor and bleachers will be replaced and there will be new lighting, security and general upgrades to make the space friendly and functional. As well, the floor of the spin room will be refinished and new football and recreation offices will be built in the area above the spin room.
Ms. Morrison said precise details of the redevelopment of Huskies Stadium will be available once a Request for Proposals has been issued. The University envisions the replacement of the bleachers, earth mound and canopy with a new open air stadium to accommodate 3,500 spectators. The turf will be replaced and there will be field storage rooms, concession stands and new lighting for the west side of the field.
The Homburg Centre and Stadium are used by more than 5,000 students annually who take part in 16 intermural opportunities, 10 clubs and 90 programs ranging from stretching and pilates to dance club and spin class. Classrooms in the Homburg Centre accommodate everything from academic courses and yoga classes to community space for groups such as Weight Watchers and Peaceful Schools International.
The Stadium is used for varsity football soccer and other sports, but it is also used for Orientation, Ultimate Frisbee leagues for residence students, walks, United Way tug-of-wars and dozens of other events.
“To ensure the University is living up to its responsibility to provide venues for people to work on their physical, emotional and spiritual wellness, we need to provide modern facilities with flexible use. These changes help accomplish that goal.”
The cost of the changes will run into the millions of dollars and the University plans to finance the renewal with the introduction of a new Athletics and Recreation Fee that will be phased in over three years as the work progresses.Acording to Keith Hotchkiss, Senior Director of Student Services, the finance committee approved the concept of a renewal fee in principle, but the University held off implementing it
Many universities in the region have had an athletic and recreation fee for some time, he said.
The new fee will be phased in over three years, starting at $5 per half credit course this fall and potentially rising to $20 per half credit course by 2015-16.
The exact cost of the projects will depend of the results on the request for proposals, but it will be in the millions of dollars and it is expected it will take 25 years to cover the financing.
Mr. Hotchkiss noted that even with the fee at its maximum level in three years, the total educational cost at Saint Mary’s remains lower than 10 of the 13 similar sized universities in Canada.
The details of the plan were released at a Town Hall held Feb. 27 in the gym at the Homburg Centre for Health & Wellness.