Lewis Centre expansion opens next month in Courtenay
After months of construction, the Courtenay Recreation Lewis Centre expansion is set to officially open June 10.
Susan Murphy, manager of recreation services, said the project team is working hard to get the facility open.
“We're almost there, the crews are working on the finishing touches over the next few weeks,” noted Murphy. “The entire department has worked hard on this project, and we are extremely excited to welcome the community into the new space on June 10.”
The 11,000-square-foot expansion includes a new 4,000-square-foot Wellness Centre, a 3,000-square-foot activity room, plus new change rooms and showers. The squash courts are also being upgraded, along with a new mezzanine and squash viewing area. The Wellness Centre will feature extensive new equipment.
Murphy advised the expansion will have additional benefits.
“Not only does the Wellness Centre have state of the art fitness equipment, but it also has a spectacular view,” she said. “Staring out at the lush green park and downtown landscape will be a real treat for our users.”
The project represents a major leap forward for a facility that has been serving the community in a variety of shapes and forms since the 1940s.
The needs of older adults have been given special consideration in the project. Courtenay Recreation has chosen easily customizable, accessible equipment that will meet a wide range of user requirements and abilities.
The Evergreen Club, for members aged 55 and up, is contributing $5,000 to the Courtenay Recreation Lewis Centre project.
Gord Kruger, president of the Evergreen Club, said the donation represents the club’s support for the project.
“We felt it was important to contribute, particularly since so many of our members use the facility,” noted Kruger. “The Lewis Centre is an integral part of who we are and what we do.”
The donation will be used to purchase a SciFit Inclusive Fitness Total Body Exerciser, a recumbent bicycle with foot and hand pedals providing upper body, lower body, or total body exercise.
“It’s going to be a great piece of equipment,” said Kruger. “We reviewed several options, and this one struck us as being a vital one for overall health and fitness.”
Local resident Al Gray has been involved with Courtenay Recreation since the early 1970s, as a member of the Courtenay Recreational Association board of directors and as a facility user. He is particularly pleased with the new Wellness Centre’s potential for older fitness users.
“People have been turned away from senior weight training programs at the Lewis Centre in recent years, because there wasn’t room to accommodate them,” advised Gray. “They had to use a lottery system for people wanting to take classes.
"This new Wellness Centre will hopefully mean they can get rid of the waiting lists. Weight bearing exercise can help prevent osteoporosis, so it’s important that those services are available.”
During opening week, Lewis Centre users will be able to take advantage of free equipment orientations, extended Wellness Centre and childminding hours, free introductory classes and daily prize draws. More details and schedules for opening week activities will be announced later in May.
Work on the Lewis Centre will continue throughout the summer, as crews move to renovate parts of the existing building. Crews will upgrade mechanical and ventilation systems, and constructing a new administration area for special needs programs and services. Project completion and official grand opening events are planned for October.
Funding assistance to help reduce borrowing costs for the $5.4-million project has been committed from a variety of sources, including $1,000,000 from the Federal Gas Tax Fund, as well as a $400,000 Community Recreation Grant from the Province of B.C. The City is actively pursuing other funding opportunities.
For more information, call Courtenay Recreation at 250-338-5371 or visit www.courtenay.ca.
— City of Courtenay