New West on track to open Sportsplex in spring 2020

The Queen’s Park Sportsplex is on track to open in spring 2020.

The $5.9-millilon, 12,700-square-foot facility will accommodate programs that were located in the former Queen’s Park Arenex, including gymnastics, trampoline, ball hockey, badminton, volleyball and the Motoring Munchkins drop-in. It’s also been designed to accommodate pickleball, lacrosse, basketball, soccer and other activities.

The Sportsplex replaces the Queen’s Park Arenex, which was destroyed after its roof collapsed in December 2016.

Dean Gibson, the city’s director of parks and recreation, said it may not appear that there’s much to see on the site, but “significant progress” has been made on the project in the last several months.

Don Driedger, the city’s manager of major projects, said construction of the Sportsplex required “screw piles” to be placed in the ground because it’s being constructed on an old reservoir site next to the new skateboard park.

“Now that the screw piles have been placed in the ground, formwork and steel and cement will be put into these holes, with concrete beams joining the screw piles together to form the foundation of the building,” he explained. “The expectation is that we will see this building go up in January, and maybe parts of it even earlier, depending on how the concrete pouring and steelwork goes.”

In a nod to the building it’s replacing, some wood from old beams in the Arenex will be incorporated into the office and cubby area.

The Sportsplex will include a gymnasium, an administrative area, storage space for gymnastics equipment and washrooms. It will be home to the city’s second civic universal washroom.

Jay Young, manager of recreation services, said eight-foot-tall solid glass boards will surround the recreation area, making it great for sports like ball hockey, soccer and lacrosse.

The building aims, which aims to achieve the best green building practices, will have solar panels on the roof. It will also have a high- performance building envelope, be a zero-carbon energy source, and have low-water consumption features, enhanced mechanical systems and LED light fixtures.

Erika Mashig, the city’s manager of arboriculture, horticulture, parks and open space planning, said the exterior of the Sportsplex includes a generous plaza, a half-court basketball court that replaces one removed to build the skate park, outdoor seating  and various public art components.

Coun. Chuck Puchmayr believes the city has come a long way since its initial plan to build a “big metal and canvas tent” as a replacement for the Arenex.

“Now we are going full energy-efficient,” he said. “It meets our climate emergency plans.”

Mayor Jonathan Cote said the community is pretty excited about the project, which he believes will become “one of the hearts” in Queen’s Park. While it’s been frustrating for the community to have to wait for the Sportsplex to be built, he said the permanent building is an improvement over the “bubble” that was originally contemplated.

“Although it’s been frustrating with the gap there, I think in the longer term it is going to serve the community a lot better,” he said. “I think we are going to end up with a much better facility because of that.”

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