Wilfrid Laurier University and the City of Brantford hosted the grand opening ceremony for their new YMCA and University Recreation Center on Sat., Dec. 8. The new community center revitalizes the city’s downtown and creates exciting opportunities for recreation programming. The design team engaged the two clients and the community in a highly collaborative process that ensured the final solution proved as valuable as possible for those it serves. The project received a prestigious Progressive Architecture (P/A) Award from Architect magazine in 2012 when it was in design. At that point, the jury said of the project: “It brings a historical neighborhood into the 21st century.”
During the grand opening ceremonies, key leaders shared the following remarks:
Jim Commerford, president and CEO of the YMCA of Hamilton | Burlington | Brantford
“Research is clear; we can improve the well-being of people in our community by creating spaces for health, belonging and social connectivity. The Laurier Brantford YMCA is a response to this opportunity – bringing individuals, families, and students together to improve overall well-being. Our two organizations share common values and a commitment to their local communities. We’re proud to celebrate our grand opening today and grateful to our federal, provincial and municipal partners whose support made this vision a reality.”
Deborah MacLatchey, president and vice-chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University
“As a university, we are keenly aware of the many social, mental and physical benefits our students and employees can enjoy by living active lifestyles, whether that be through competitive sport, recreational leagues, classes or individual fitness regimens. It is gratifying to see that our students are already making excellent use of the space. Five years ago our Brantford campus students voted to support the Laurier Brantford YMCA through a levy on their student fees. The fact that our recent alumni contributed financially to a project that they knew would not be completed until after they graduated says so much about our student body, and is an incredible point of pride for me as president.”
The new features of the Laurier Brantford YMCA include an aquatics centre with two pools for lane swimming; childcare area; youth zone for recreational, social and leadership development programs; a double gym design for sports and competition with retractable stadium seating for 860 people; comprehensive cardio and weight training space; group fitness studios; student lounge; and health intake consultation rooms for specialized community-based healthcare programs.