Students at Laurier’s Brantford campus and the wider Brantford community celebrated the dawn of a new era in athletics and recreation on Sept. 14 when the new Laurier Brantford YMCA opened its doors for the first time.
"The (new Laurier Brantford YMCA) offers more facility space, more programs, more hours, as well as the potential to grow Laurier’s Brantford campus as a whole," said Jonathan Knowles, a fifth-year human rights and human diversity student who serves as recreation program coordinator for Laurier Athletics and Recreation. "It provides the means necessary to further develop the experience of not only our student athletes, but the entire student population."
Amenities at the new facility include an aquatic centre with two pools; a hot tub and sauna; a child-minding area and youth zone; a fitness centre overlooking the pool; strength-training equipment; and three studios for fitness classes and dance.
The main attraction for many is a double-gym with retractable seating for up to 860 spectators, with a Golden Hawks logo emblazoned across centre court.
– Nick Savage
Laurier and the YMCA hosted two community open house events on Sept. 14 and Sept. 15 that allowed non-members to explore the four-storey, 120,000-square-foot building for the first time.
"We had a large turnout for our community open houses," said Pat Kitchen, general manager of the Laurier Brantford YMCA. "We have heard from the community that they are impressed with the facility, as well as the scope of programs and services."
During their time as students at Laurier’s Brantford campus, Nick Savage (BA '12) and Kate Doyle (BA, BEd '13) both worked as part of a campaign to bring the vision of a new recreation facility to reality. Both attended open house events to see the new building.
"It was something that students had wanted forever," said Savage, who served on the Wilfrid Laurier University Students' Union Brantford Campus Council. "It's fulfilling to see it go from drawings to the poster boards we used for promotion to actually see it built. It took a village to build this and it was great to walk the halls."
Plans are underway for an official grand opening celebration at the Laurier Brantford YCMA in December.
The new Laurier Brantford YMCA is a prominent fixture on Colborne Street in downtown Brantford.