Local squash players eagerly anticipate the opening of the new wellness centre and activity room at the Lewis Centre in Courtenay.
The multi-million-dollar Lewis Centre expansion includes upgraded squash courts and an expanded viewing area adjoining the two older courts.
“We’re looking forward to the improvements,” said Dan Lindsay, president of the Comox Valley Squash Club. “Just that new and improved and expanded viewing area I think should add to the overall experience and should help out for tournaments and hosting tournaments.”
Before the renovations, courts one and two could be viewed from above. The new viewing area enables spectators to watch the action at court four — the main show court.
“It provides more of a separate area for the squash area, which tended to in the past overtake everything,” Lindsay said of tournaments.
The local squash league starts in October. The club hosts at least two tournaments a year. It hosted the B.C. closed championships in 2010 when Vancouver could not host the tournament during the Olympics. Squash B.C. and Squash Canada then asked the club to host national masters and mixed tournaments.
“We just haven’t got there yet,” Lindsay said.
The club hoped the renovations would yield a fifth court — a necessity at provincial and national squash tournaments.
“When we combine Courtenay and Comox we can do that, which is what we’ve done,” Lindsay said. “However, it would be nice for some tournaments to do it all in one location with five courts, and unfortunately we won’t be able to do that. We would have liked to have seen another court but we’ll take what we get.”
With two of the courts open during the upgrades, Courtenay Recreation is offering two-for-one squash lessons from June 10 to 16.
A lift outside the courts will accommodate patrons needing to bypass a flight of stairs connecting the addition to the original part of the building. The addition includes the wellness centre and activity room.
There will be a number of free activities and programs next week. The public is encouraged to take advantage of free wellness centre orientation sessions, TRX, BOSU and spin bike demo classes, and extended childminding hours.
The TRX suspension trainer leverages gravity and bodyweight to perform exercises. BOSU is a half ball, one side a dome and the other a platform, used to strengthen joints and prevent injuries.
“These free sessions are a way for us to give something back to the community,” said Susan Murphy, manager of recreation services. “We want our patrons to know that we appreciate their understanding as we work our way through this expansion and renovation project.”
The former weight room will become a meeting space. There will also be new offices for special needs programming staff.
The entire project is scheduled to be completed in the fall. In the summer, crews will upgrade mechanical and ventilation systems, and construct a new administration area for special needs programs and services.
Project completion and grand opening events are planned for October.
The project is expected to cost $5.4 million, with $1 million coming from gas tax revenue through the federal Community Works Fund, $400,000 from the provincial Community Recreation Program, $200,000 from a city reserve fund and a maximum of $3.8 million to be borrowed by the city.
Advance registration is required for the free orientations and demo classes. Call the Lewis Centre at 250-338-5371 or the Florence Filberg Centre at 250-338-1000.
Detailed schedule information is available at www.courtenay.ca.