The University of Winnipeg Board of Regents last night authorized Number TEN Architectural Group to produce architectural drawings of a new mixed-use athletics complex, wellness centre on Spence Street offering students, inner-city residents and youth new recreation options in the heart of downtown. Work would begin in spring 2012 on the UWinnipeg Multi-Purpose Field House, Health and Wellness Complex which will include a new University of Winnipeg Lifespan Physical Activity Research Institute. The facility will be connected to, and integrated with, the Duckworth Centre and state-of-the-art Bill Wedlake Fitness Centre, creating a seamless hub devoted to recreation and health.  The new development will also include the construction of a multi-level parkade, which will accommodate approximately 300 safe and accessible parking spaces for students, staff and faculty and members of the community.

In addition, UWinnipeg is establishing a Faculty of Kinesiology effective July 1, 2012, with Dr. David Fitzpatrick appointed as Acting Dean. The new Field House provides increased opportunities for University student practica, service learning, and student employment. Students might be engaged as part of their course work, or employed on a part-time basis, during the term and summers, to assist with program administration and delivery. 

The Field House and enhanced programming opportunities will result in the expansion of such initiatives as: Early Years Motor Skills Programs and Youth Sports Skills Camps; a renewed Community Access Program; Programs to Support Grade 11 and 12 Physical Education Requirements; a Lifespan Physical Activity Research Institute (with a focus on the Inner-City); a Health and Wellness Centre linked to the development of a comprehensive Healthy Campus Initiative including Fitness Assessment and Lifestyle Counselling; enhanced Intramural and Club Programs; additional Wesmen and Junior Wesmen Athletic sports and new programming for The Collegiate and Faculty of Education students. 

UWinnipeg will also pursue development of two new Masters degrees in Coaching and Athletic Therapy. 

Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg

“Kinesiology, athletic therapy and recreation are critically important and expanding fields of study. There is increasing demand for health and wellness professionals as we move more and more to prevention-based health models,” said Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg. “Just as importantly, we will increase our intramural programming and offer more recreation opportunities for inner-city children and youth.  We recognize that participating in sports in a safe and healthy environment provides critical life and teamwork skills in a young person’s life, as well as a feeling of belonging. This is central to UWinnipeg’s ongoing commitment to Community Learning.” 

UWinnipeg now supports six community sports teams of youth aged 9-13 in partnership with organizations such as the Spence Neighbourhood Association and the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba.  

The University will establish a Community Program Advisory Board for the Field House to guide development of new and compelling experiences for community members. This group will also craft a Community Charter, which when complete, will affirm the University’s commitment to significant and perpetual access to the new facility for the surrounding community. The recreation options possible within a multi-purpose field house include, but are not limited to: soccer, lacrosse, team handball, field hockey, rugby, ultimate, fencing, yoga, golf, and track and field athletics. The facility may also be used for a wide range of non-sport community activities such as ethnic-related events, culturally-specific dancing, and play spaces and play structures for toddlers and children.

The new $31.5 million UWinnipeg Multi-Purpose Field House, Health and Wellness Complex is made possible by a $15 million capital investment from the Province of Manitoba, announced in June. The City of Winnipeg is also providing $ 2 million towards the complex.

The complex will include a regulation-size indoor soccer field that will accommodate other sports such as lacrosse and touch-football with expanded intramural opportunities for all UWinnipeg students. The complex will also include a Wellness Centre, and new secure parkade for vehicles and bikes. It will also accommodate additional classrooms for athletics and kinesiology students.

MEDIA CONTACT

Diane Poulin, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7135, E: [email protected]