Higher student fees to largely fund new $23.3M fitness centre at Dalhousie

via The Chronicle Herald

Dalhousie announced plans for its new fitness centre this week after close to four decades of the Dalplex — a deteriorating facility that has received many student complaints.

The school held a public information session Tuesday to showcase the final drawings of the new 59,600-square-foot space located on South Street.

“The Dalplex is pushing 40 years old, and like many of the facilities on campus, we haven’t had enough money to keep it up to the condition that’s expected by modern students, community members and staff,” said Jeff Lamb, Assistant VP for Facilities Management at Dalhousie University.

Lamb says the centre was built for the number of students the university had four decades ago. The school now has roughly 19,000 students, many of whom have repeatedly expressed the need for an up-to-date gym.

Students had their say on this issue and others through “satisfaction surveys” and focus groups, that included community members and faculty.

“There was definitely. . . a capacity issue,” said Lamb. A prime example of this is the overcrowded field house. The weight room, and some other fitness areas are taking up part of the field house floor that was originally designated for sports like basketball and volleyball.

Dalplex’s deteriorating state was identified back in 2010, and since then several concepts have been brought to the table. “We focused on the primary needs, and the money that would be available,” said Lamb.

The $23.3 million cost will be funded in large part by a $180 student fee.

In 2011, Dal’s Board of Governors approved the hiked fee—one that Lamb says is significantly larger than the fitness fee students pay as part of their tuition.

Dal students found out this spring that their tuition was going up by a minimum of three per cent. For some programs, the hikes are more than 10 per cent.

The new modern, naturally-lit centre will feature four multi-purpose fitness rooms, universal washrooms, three new change rooms and more fitness machines for cardio and strength training. “When you actually see the drawings it’s quite extensive,” said Lamb.

The new and improved Dalplex is set to open its doors in 2018.

Original publish date: May 19, 2016

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