The University of Winnipeg officially opened its multi-million-dollar athletics complex on Tuesday.
The $40-million United Health and RecPlex, located on Spence Street directly behind the CBC building, has been under construction since September 2012.
Primarily an athletics complex, the 189,000-square-foot facility also has classroom space for athletics and kinesiology students. The U of W bills it as a "teaching, training, recreational, and multi-purpose facility" for students, athletes, staff, and the community.
Funded in part by the province and City of Winnipeg, the recplex is to be operated on a "community-use protocol" that ensures inner-city neighbourhood children and organizations have access to it.
The U of W has, for many years, supported youth sporting teams in partnership with organizations such as the Spence Neighbourhood Association and the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba.
"This is a world-class facility that gives youth a safe place to play and thrive,” said U of W president Lloyd Axworthy.
“Many of the children and teenagers in this neighbourhood are new immigrants facing language and financial barriers and Indigenous youth. We are creating a respectful and inclusive environment for all.
"Just as importantly, our students and faculty have gained an important new resource on campus, with access to hands-on academic and community-based research opportunities and new practicum experiences.”
The recplex contains three-cross fields, a gymnasium, multi-purpose room, 60-metre sprint track for use in student intramural programs, and university and community-based teams.
The facility will provide a new indoor training and practice space for all U of W Wesmen teams, in particular the soccer teams. The 55-by-90-metre soccer pitch meets minimum FIFA standards.
The field will also accommodate other sports such as football, ultimate, rugby, and lacrosse.
The Wesmen baseball teams also have new indoor training space in the complex, with retractable batting cages.
In all, the complex includes:
- A large multi-use artificial turf field.
- A four-lane rubberized sprint track.
- A community gym/meeting space.
- A jump pit.
- Retractable batting cages.
- Multi-purpose room with climbing wall.
- Great-West Life Healthy Campus and Research Centre
- Student lounge.
- Food and beverage kiosks
- Underground parkade for 194 vehicles and 56 bicycles.