Repsol Sport Centre plans $120M expansion — if it can raise the funds

The Repsol Sport Centre is planning a major expansion that could top $100 million, but one major hitch is whether it can get government money for the plan.

Complex built in 1980s used by 1.5 million people per year

Repsol Sport Centre CEO Jeff Booke says 1.5 million people use the facility every year and it needs some major upgrades, but it's going to take funding from all levels of government to make it happen. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

The Repsol Sport Centre is planning a major expansion that could top $100 million, but one major hitch is whether it can get government money for the plan. 

The complex, formerly the Talisman Centre and Lindsay Park before that, has been a key Calgary athletic facility since the early 1980s.

Even though 1.5 million people a year visit to work out, compete or watch events, the complex needs to modernize and expand for the future, officials say. 

CEO Jeff Booke says its mandate is to serve both citizens and athletes alike.

"Bigger pools, more water, more gymnasiums," Booke told CBC News, of the growth plans.

"Equipment that meets international standards so that we can host top quality training and competition and meet the needs of our member base."

An artist rendering of an expanded Repsol Sport Centre. The project could cost up to $120 million, requiring funding from all three levels of government. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

The plan is to add to the dry sports facilities on the west side of the building, and add a new dive tank and pool on the east side, where a gymnasium currently sits.

Flood-protection improvements are also part of the plan.

Booke says rounding up government money will be key to the two-phase expansion plan.

Repsol Sport Centre, formerly Talisman Centre and before that Lindsay Park, opened in the early 1980s. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

"Our primary interest would be to raise money through the three levels of government, through corporate support, [and] through stakeholders," he said.

The first phase is expected to cost roughly $40 million to $50 million; the second, between $60 million and $70 million. A zoning change will have to be approved by the city as well.

Booke says if they can raise the money, the first construction phase could start in late 2018.

With files from Scott Dippel