Plans for the Centre for Health, Wellness and Sport were detailed during a major announcement at Red Deer College last week.
The project is slated to be completed in the fall of 2018, and will host a number of events in the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
Officials said the Centre will also further increase the capabilities of RDC to expand and enhance programming across many areas. The estimated project cost of $88 million will be funded through a mix of donations, partnerships and government funding.
To date officials have about $50 million raised. In the fall, they will be moving forward with a fundraising initiative.
“From both a College and community perspective, we couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities this Centre will create,” said Shelley Ralston, chair of the RDC board of governors. “This facility is essential for RDC to continue to meet the needs of our community including achieving our long-term vision of becoming a polytechnic university,” she said.
“Out of many things that have been on the board’s agenda for a number of years – one is degree granting status, and two, facilities to meet a deficit of what there is today but also to position us for the future,” she said. “Today is about both of those things.”
RDC President Joel Ward added that the new facility is also about ensuring a bold, forward-focused future for the communities of Central Alberta.
“This will be the new building that everyone will see. The one million people that drive up and down this highway every single year will see this facility. It’s an iconic building and a great design,” he said. “It actually complements this beautiful campus.
“Partnering with the City of Red Deer to host the 2019 Canada Winter Games has allowed RDC to realize this facility which has been in the planning stages for many years.
“It will also be available for public use. Community use and those partnerships are key,” he added. “But most important, as our board chair mentioned, it’s a pivotal piece for our growth and development. Great programs delivered in modern facilities strengthen our case for polytechnique university status,” he said. “Achieving this status simply means offering everything we currently do and also lets us grant our own degrees that are relevant and necessary for the learners of Central Alberta.”
It would also go a long way to retaining graduates of RDC as residents to the City and area as well, he said. “Make no mistake – this is more than being just about a building. It’s about ensuring a bold, forward-focused future for the College and for the communities of Central Alberta,” he said.
RDC Students’ Association President Maryanne McGrath said the extensive benefits to both current and future students will go beyond just new amenities at the College.
“The Centre for Health, Wellness and Sport will enhance student life and help foster both mental and physical wellness,” she said. “By providing our students with state-of-the-art education and recreation facilities, we encourage them to get their education in Red Deer but to make Central Alberta their home.”
Work is set to begin this fall with major construction due to start early next year.
“Clark and Scott Builders joint ventures along with our design partner Stantec with HCMA are extremely proud and excited to have been selected from a very competitive Design Building Competition as the design build contractor of choice for RDC’s Centre for Health, Wellness and Sport,” said Randy Kyrzyk, project manager for Clark Builders.
Meanwhile, several goals for the facility include creating critical components required to further RDC’s vision, as already mentioned of becoming a polytechnic university, supporting students and programs primarily in RDC’s School of Health Sciences and providing new sport spaces to serve a role as classroom and lab learning spaces for students.
Community access is also a key part of the plan via access to venues that meet provincial, national and international sporting standards, providing improved training spaces to support local sports and creating new opportunities to host events and tournaments
Upgraded facilities will also provide a new home to RDC athletics teams and additional event space and dry land training during the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
There will be 1,200 seat capacity with ability to add an additional 400 seats as well.
Athletic therapy, a high performance training lab and fitness/testing centres will also create new opportunities to support and expand academic programming at the College.
An Olympic-sized ice surface is another feature, and is required for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
The ice surface will also offer new partnership opportunities for the College and various partners including Hockey Alberta and Red Deer Minor Hockey to meet increasing demand for local ice times in the City and region.
A major gathering area will also offer socializing and meeting spaces for students, staff, professors and community members.