Construction on a massive, athletics complex will start this week on the University of Winnipeg campus.

Demolition of McNamara Hall on Spence Street this week and a brick building at 359 Young St. in September will make way for a three-level $31.5-million complex with a regulation-size indoor soccer field, a 10,000-square-foot Wellness Centre, classrooms for athletics and kinesiology students, and a parkade for 268 vehicles.

The field will also accommodate other sports such as lacrosse and touch-football.

Once completed, the fieldhouse will also be operated on a "community-use protocol" that ensures inner-city neighbourhood children and organizations have access.

An official sod-turning is planned for early September, in conjunction with the university's 2012 Homecoming.

The scale of this project has prompted a number of changes on campus over the next few weeks:

Bus service

Winnipeg Transit is relocating the Spence Street bus loop. By mid-November, buses will be rerouted permanently to create a ribbon around the science complex daycare and student residence, running up a newly paved Furby Street, turning onto Furby Place, then heading south down Langside Street and onto Portage Avenue.

In the interim, beginning on Sept. 4, buses will be moved off Spence Street to a temporary route on Portage, Colony and St. Mary.

Additionally, a new traffic light with companion pedestrian crosswalk will be installed at Langside and Portage by mid-fall 2012.

Trees and greenspace

Construction along Spence and Young necessitates the relocation of the alumni garden and a number of trees.

The garden will be rededicated on campus in the coming weeks. A tree salvage, reuse and recycling plan has been created with the goal of keeping or recycling back onto campus every tree possible for reuse as lumber, furniture and art.

Four large elm trees will remain in place. Four trees will be relocated to other locations on campus. Other elm, ash, spruce and maple marked for reuse will be carefully cut into lengths and stored at Wood Anchor to be used during the construction phase of the new field house.

The repurposed lumber will form benches in change rooms, rough cut logs for ceremonial healing spaces, reception desktops and floor planks, among other things. Educational signage with photographs of the original trees and description of the salvage and reuse process will be posted.

The Richardson Green Corridor, a walkway and cycling path linking our main campus to the west Furby campus, is currently being landscaped and may accommodate relocated trees from Spence Street.

Relocations affecting the public

  • Klinic On Campus has moved to the main floor Sparling Hall.
  • The Legal Help Centre has moved to 310 Balmoral Street.
  • Soma Café is moving from the Duckworth Centre to Lockhart Hall sometime in fall 2012, replacing Café Bodhi.
  • Café Bodhi will move to the 2nd floor, Duckworth Centre, sometime in fall 2012.