Lakehead University students to vote on proposed new athletics facility

Students at Lakehead University start to vote today on whether they want to pay more in fees, with the money going toward a proposed new athletics facility on campus.

Proponents say building would increase available athletics space for students, offer other amenities

A proposed new athletics facility at Lakehead University would include amenities like another gymnasium and weightlifting space. (

Students at Lakehead University start to vote today on whether they want to pay more in fees, with the money going toward a planned new athletics facility on campus.

This proposed project has basically come out of student ideas, student focus groups, student needs and, to be frank, at times, student complaints as in what we're not delivering," said Tom Warden, the athletics director at Lakehead.

"Ultimately, students make the decision on whether they'd like to see it happen or not."

The proposed 30,000 square-foot facility would be connected — and built adjacent — to the C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse and the Lakehead Athletics Hangar, and would include a multi-purpose gymnasium, modern weightlifting space, student study areas, a market and a pharmacy, said Tyler McDougall, the lead student campaigner for the facility.

"It's so much more than just an athletics facility, it's going to be kind of like a student-driven, positive space," she said.

McDougall added that the increased gymnasium space will make it easier for students to book court time for personal use as varsity teams will continue to use the fieldhouse.
The proposed facility would also include areas for students to study and nap, according to proponents. Students are scheduled to vote on whether to increase fees to help pay for the facility. (

The referendum among Lakehead students, which will be conducted online, centres around whether to add $49.50 per-term to the fees students pay for campus amenities, over and above their tuition.

The vote is scheduled to run from March 21-28. The Lakehead University Student Union said it is not taking a position on the issue.

"The overall wellness of our students is essential to us," Warden said. "I feel strongly it's a good idea but that doesn't really matter, it's more up to the students, they're going to be the ones that decide."

"It's been an exciting time here at Lakehead, it's promoted a lot of really good discussion on a lot of things ... so regardless of the outcome, we've grown as a department and it's been a good process."