Conestoga College Student Recreation Centre, Renovation & Addition

Kitchener, ON
Construction Cost: $17.8 Million (CAD)
Area / Square Feet: 126,950 sf
Occupancy Date: June 2016

Recognizing its aging 40-year-old athletic facility was not meeting current needs and expectations of students, Conestoga College set out to redevelop and expand its recreation center into a vibrant fitness, wellness and student activity complex in harmony with the “fitness for life” goals of modern academic institutions. The new expansion is visually open and projects out to the campus, displaying activities within, inviting participation and promoting accessible fitness and wellness.

The primary sustainable initiative was to renovate the existing arena shell, which not only saved on capital costs but retained a very beautiful and useful shell. The new configuration also retains the iconic bold form of the original complex while the expansion presents a new lighter face. The redesign updates the existing gym and adaptively reuses the arena as a new triple-gym and track, as well as a large student commons and classrooms at the second-level concourse. The new front addition contains a large, welcoming reception area, a wellness center, therapy rooms, student rooms, a fitness center and multipurpose studios.

The renovation introduces natural light throughout the new gymnasium and running track to greatly reduce electrical lighting load. All glazing utilizes ceramic- frit patterns to manage solar gain, and all lighting was designed or replaced with LED. The new plaza is designed with bioswale planting beds to manage runoff without the need for stormwater sewer connections. A green-roofed canopy connects the adjacent academic building and replaces a seldom-used open overhead walkway.

Judge's Comments

"Brilliant, confident approach to the new entry and activity center. The cantilevered mass was flawlessly executed." — Keith Russeau

"The fitness bar is designed with beautiful restraint, resulting in a simple lantern that addresses the campus and puts fitness on display. Good use of existing facilities while still delivering a transformative project." — Kalman Nagy

"Authentic, inspiring and timeless. Tremendous adaptive reuse and expansion, creating wonderful light-filled recreation environments." — Troy Sherrard