The Student Recreation Centre – located on Conestoga’s Doon Campus in Kitchener- is a renovation and expansion that restores an aging athletic facility and transforms it into a dynamic hub for student life, activity, and wellness. Working closely with the College and Students Association, the facility is reimagined as a central hub of campus life, where in addition to fitness, students can congregate, find healthy food options, and receive counselling and therapy.
Conestoga’s Recreation Centre at the Doon campus has been named one of 20 finalists in the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) annual Design Excellence Awards.
The Centre, designed by MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects, was selected from more than 140 submissions. Finalists were judged on criteria that included creativity, context, sustainability, good design and legacy.
“The OAA Awards showcase the exceptional work that Ontario architects are doing in the province, Canada and around the world,” said John Stephenson, OAA president. “Each year I’m blown away at the creativity and forward-thinking architects bring to their projects.”
The Conestoga community celebrated the official opening of the Recreation Centre on October 3, 2016. Plans for the renovation and expansion project were developed in consultation with the college’s student association, Conestoga Students Inc., and based on feedback from a student survey.
The redesign updated the existing gym and reused the underutilized ice arena and its shell for a new triple-gymnasium and overhead track. The main entrance was also reoriented towards the campus — rather than the parking lot as in the existing plan — to engage the campus and increase connectivity.
The facility now provides a full range of recreation and athletic services and houses a 35,000 square-foot fitness centre outfitted with floor-to-ceiling windows and filled with state-of-the art equipment. In addition to the recreation areas, new community and social spaces and health and wellness offices have been added to provide a full range of athletic services.
The primary sustainable initiative is retaining and renovation of the existing arena shell, although the original project brief called its demolition and a design of a new pre-engineered building to house student and fitness space. The retrofit not only saved on capital costs, but it retains a very beautiful and useful shell that is successfully repurposed. The existing areas are reroofed and insulated for increased thermal performance. The renovation introduces natural light throughout the new gymnasium and running track to greatly reduce electrical lighting load. Furthermore, all glazing utilizes frit patterns to manage solar gain and all lighting is replaced or designed with LED.