United Health and RecPlex dedicated to campus and community health
Enjoying the new United Health and RecPlex – photo by Kelly Morton
Dedication ceremony held for $40 million recreation and wellness destination
WINNIPEG, MB – A dedication ceremony was followed by public tours of the most significant recreation and wellness facility ever created in Winnipeg’s inner city community today, bringing The University of Winnipeg United Health and RecPlex officially to life on Spence Street. Representatives from the Province of Manitoba, the City of Winnipeg, numerous community partners, the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association and Wesmen athletes had a chance to experience the unique features of $40 million facility that will serve the campus and surrounding community for decades to come. Respected Elders Mary and Percy Houle, from the Ebb and Flow First Nation, accompanied by the North Wolf Ojibway Drum Group, officiated the dedication ceremony with a traditional Pipe Ceremony to bless the new United Health and RecPlex facility.
Manitoba Minister of Education and Advanced Learning, Peter Bjornson, UWinnipeg President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Annette Trimbee, Allison Reimer, Vice President Student Services, University of Winnipeg Students’ Association and Director of the Youth Agencies Alliance, Chino Argueta, welcomed neighbourhood youth and the University community to the complex.
Programming within the facility is specifically designed to meet the needs of multiple groups: Wesmen athletes and UWinnipeg students who want to have fun and stay in shape; neighbourhood youth and residents; and amateur sports organizations requiring space.
“Since the doors of the RecPlex opened in September, it has been alive with activities, from soccer matches, rock climbing and wrestling practices, to seniors exercising, girls hoop dancing and a weekly community Pow Wow club,” said Trimbee. “This is a world class facility that is bringing people together to do exactly what was intended: create new opportunities for recreation and for improving the health, safety and wellbeing of our students and the broader community.”
In the coming weeks, construction will be completed on the skybridge linking the RecPlex with a renovated Duckworth Centre, creating a seamless flow to more health and wellness spaces and new retail options.
BACKGROUND – A STATE-OF-THE-ART FACILITY
The facility is 168,000 square feet and accommodates a 50.5 by 90-metre soccer field, which meets minimum FIFA standard. It provides new indoor training and practice space for all Wesmen teams, in particular soccer. It can also accommodate numerous other sports such as flag football and track and field, as well as cultural and community events. It has:
- a large multi-use artificial turf field (three cross-fields)
- a four-lane rubberized sprint track and jump pit
- retractable batting cages (for baseball practice donated by the Rettie family)
- Thomas Sill Community Multi-purpose room
- Community Gym with climbing wall
- secure underground parkade for 189 vehicles and 56 bicycles
- Great-West Life Healthy Campus and Research Centre
- Drew Olson Student Lounge
UWinnipeg’s Athletics Department currently supports approximately 300 neighbourhood youth under the Inner-City Junior Wesmen umbrella which includes boys’ and girls’ basketball, soccer and wrestling teams. The RecPlex is also the new home for the neighbourhood Pow Wow Club and the Adventure Kids Summer Camp which attracts 1,200 inner-city children annually. The popular day camp allows children to participate in engaging activities with a focus on Indigenous science.
Over the course of several years, following town hall meetings and in collaboration with community partners, a unique Community Charter was developed with a broad coalition of 18 youth-serving agencies and community stakeholders. The Community Charter ensures community use approximately one third of the time. The Community schedule is posted here.
The new facility is possible because of generous government grants, with the Province of Manitoba contributing $15 million and the City of Winnipeg committing $2 million to the project. A UWSA-sponsored student referendum approved a student athletic fee of $30 per term to support construction of the new facility.
Great-West Life donated $500,000 to create the Great-West Life Healthy Campus and Research Centre inside the complex which allows for new research opportunities that will benefit the community, and especially inner city youth, for decades to come. It also supports the University’s emerging Healthy Campus initiative. The Thomas Sill Foundation donated $200,000 to create the Thomas Sill Community Multi-Purpose Room, and Wawanesa Insurance donated $50,000 to support the facility. An investment of $230,000 in energy efficient features by Manitoba Hydro’s Power Smart program is estimated to have the equivalent positive environmental impact of taking 119 cars off the road for one year, and will allow UWinnipeg to save $25,000 in annual energy costs. The Rettie family provided a donation towards baseball batting cages and equipment. Mark and Leslie Olson provided a $60,000 donation to support the Drew Olson Student Lounge in memory of their son. The UNITED Health & RecPlex is also supported by a mix of tenant leases and parking fees.
The University of Winnipeg Community Renewal Corporation is the project developer; the architectural firm is Number TEN Architectural Group; the project manager is Resolve Group Inc.; construction manager is PCL Construction Canada Inc; and tree salvaging and recycling is by Wood Anchor. The RecPlex is energy efficient with a targeted Gold LEED Certification.
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Diane Poulin, Senior Communications Specialist, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7135, E: firstname.lastname@example.org