For Andrew King, coming to Brantford over the past three years to help design the Laurier-YMCA Athletics and Recreation Centre has proved to be a “great experience” for a “powerful and important” project.
“It really has become a story about Brantford,” said King, who leads the design group in Canada for Cannon Design, the architectural firm responsible for creating the plans for the soon-to-be joint facility.
King and two other architects who are working on the project – Michele Gucciardi and Zsofi Schvan-Ritecz – presented up-to-date facility plans during a design open house on Wednesday morning in the lobby of Laurier’s SC Johnson Building.
The new facility will be located on the south side of Colborne Street between Grand River Hall and the municipal parking walkway opposite Harmony Square.
Construction on the 150,000-square-foot project is scheduled to begin this summer with a target opening of late summer or early fall 2016.
The target budget for the centre is $58.4 million, said Kevin Klein, a spokesperson for Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus.
When completed, the athletic and recreation centre will include multiple gymnasiums, a therapeutic and a lap pool, a student lounge, a jogging track, as well as spinning, yoga and dance studios.
Colour schemes, textures and materials for the space have not yet been decided on, said King, who has been working on the project since 2010.
He said he and the other architects working on the project acknowledged the need for sensitivity in dealing with Brantford’s history while also looking towards the future of the community, Laurier-Brantford and the YMCA of Hamilton, Burlington and Brantford.
Brian Posavad, vice president of facility development and membership operations at the YMCA of Hamilton, Burlington and Brantford, estimated that when complete, close to 10,000 people will be able to use the facility.
He added that the facility will offer the YMCA a chance to “re-establish” itself in the downtown core.
Klein said the new building allows the opportunity for two institutions to come together to serve students as well as current and future YMCA members of Brantford, County of Brant and Six Nations.
He said it’s still to be determined what happens to the YMCA’s existing facility on Wellington Street as well as Laurier’s Wilkes House Recreation Centre on Darling Street.
In 2012, Cannon Design earned an award of excellence from Architect Magazine for the facility’s design, one of 10 projects selected from among 400 other entries.