Nova Scotia

Dalhousie University moving ahead on constructing new fitness centre

Dalhousie University is ready to build a new fitness centre for the first time in more than 30 years.

New Dalplex will focus on cardio and weights, with new washrooms and change rooms

The new Dalplex will have space for cardio, weights and universal change rooms and washrooms. (Dalhousie University)

Dalhousie University is ready to build a new fitness centre for the first time in more than 30 years. 

The university is hoping to begin construction in September and is seeking a company to build on the South Street site where Eliza Ritchie Hall used to stand. 

The new Dalplex will add 57,000 square feet of workout space to the current Dalplex, which will stay in operation. 

"This is really exciting for Dal and the students and the public as well," said Peter Coutts, Dalhousie's assistant vice-president of capital projects. "It's a facility that's been long in the planning and long, long overdue." 

Coutts said the new facility will be more spacious and filled with light than the present Dalplex. 

New workout space, universal washrooms

The new centre will have space for cardio, strength training and four multi-purpose rooms for classes.

It will have three change rooms called men, women and universal. The washrooms will also be universal. The change rooms will all have options for private changing spaces and shower stalls. 

The building will be open to members from the public as well as university students and staff. 

Fully accessible

The project has a budget of $23.3 million and was designed by two architecture firms from Halifax and Toronto. It is being funded by a $180-per-student fee, which will come into effect for all Halifax students when the new facility is open. The increase in tuition was agreed to by students and approved by the university's board of governors in 2012. 

"We did a lot of engaging with students, questionnaires, one on one, in groups, as well as the general public and the neighbours in the area," said Coutts. 

The building was designed to be fully accessible and the roof will have the potential for solar panels. 

The university wants the building to have LEED Gold certification, an environmentally-friendly standard of construction.

On July 6, Dalhousie issued a tender for a construction company to build the new fitness centre. It is aiming to open the facility in 2018.