Talisman Centre reopens under new roof

Calgary's Talisman Centre reopened on Monday after a yearlong renovation that cost $45 million.
The renovation of Calgary's Talisman Centre included $250,000 worth of new equipment. ((CBC))

Calgary's Talisman Centre reopened on Monday.

Sections of the southeast recreation centre have been closed for a year for a $45-million renovation.

The closure meant some competitive divers had to go as far away as Edmonton and Lethbridge to practice.

Igor Kopecky, head coach of Dive Calgary, said the last year has been a real struggle for his team, as they lost access to the only platform diving board in the city.

"Our team was sort of split up, all the time in different places, and we were kind of on the run a bit," Kopecky said Monday, as every lane of the centre's pool was filled with swimmers.

"We lost a few divers in the shuffle. It impacted our rec program probably the most significantly."

The renovation includes $250,000 worth of new equipment, new hardwood floors in two of the centre's three gyms, and most importantly the replacement of the nearly 30-year-old roof.

60 new staff members hired

The locker-rooms were also renovated, the mechanical systems replaced for better climate control, and a state-of-the-art aquatics scoreboard was purchased, said Talisman Centre chief operating officer Jeff Booke.

"That's what makes this place so special — it houses the public, community members that come in for membership, and then sports partners," said Booke.

"So in terms of the niche that it fills in this city, it's really quite a special place because we have athletes training side by side with the public."

Booke acknowledged that several groups were inconvenienced by the year-long closure, particularly Dive Calgary.

The renovation was paid for with a combination of municipal, federal and facility funding.

Sixty new staff members have been hired, and that number is expected to double as more programs are added on.