On March 5, the University of Manitoba unveiled that the locker rooms in the Frank Kennedy Centre will be completely closed for construction for a 4-5 month period starting April 23.
The renovations are the first stage of the new Active Living Centre, which will open in 2014.
The project includes the construction of the new 9,290 square metre Active Living Centre, a new tunnel to connect the Extended Education building to the Architecture II building and the locker room renovations.
The renovations are about providing improved and more accessible spaces for the users.
“These locker rooms are approximately 40 years old and are in need of serious and long overdue improvement to bring them up to today’s standards,” said Jared Ladobruk, membership coordinator for Bison Recreation Services.
Ladobruk’s role in the construction project is providing input and consultation to the architects.
He said there is no doubt the renovations will impact the users.
“But we are making every effort to mitigate the inconvenience we will place on our members during the process,” he explained.
Ladobruk added there will be three alternative change/rest/shower spaces that members can access during the renovations: the second floor of the women’s change room, the second floor Community Change Room, located in the Joyce Fromson Pool, and the men’s and women’s change rooms in the Max Bell Center.
“We also will be placing temporary day-use lockers . . . that members can use on a daily basis at no charge to store their belongings while they are using the facilities,” he explained.
The renovations will be about expanding the women’s room, adding barrier free zones to both rooms, and adding space for mini-university participants.
New paints and plumbing will be introduced and more privacy to shower in the women’s room will be added and both rooms will be furnished with brand new lockers.
Mandy Johnson, director of membership services for Bisons recreation services, said these renovations will impact users on a positive way.
“We will have the locker rooms renovated for the first time and it is a great opportunity, but it unfortunately requires a full time of closure,” she explained.
Johnson said they did survey the facility members and 79 per cent indicated that they would prefer the locker rooms to be completely closed during a short period.
The team project member also felt that April to September was the best time to proceed with this project, to minimize disruption to the majority of the memberships.
Colleen Plumton, professor in the faculty of kinesiology and recreation management, said the challenge will be to keep putting in the forefront the final project that the U of M is going to have.
“We have to work together and be patient around these changes,” she added.
“I think that would be great if we put more images up in front of people like the visual of the final project,” she explained.
Manel Parrelaga, an exchange student in mechanical engineering, said another option should be found for people who are going to the gym every day.
“I think this is the best period to do it, for sure, but this is still really inconvenient,” Parrelaga said.
A series of plans have been put in place to address the concerns of members during the renovation.
Students are encouraged to freeze their locker service until the centre reopens.
There will be a locker-renovation contest, including prize give-a-ways, throughout the four to five month closure.
The next step, after the locker room renovation, will be the official start to the construction of the Active Living Centre building itself.
Construction is expected to begin in mid-summer 2012, the locker rooms should re open in early September.