An expansion to triple the size of Brock University’s fitness centre is moving forward after 77.2 per cent of students voted in favour of it.
The project is expected to cost between $6 million and $6.8 million and expand the current fitness zone from 4,300 square feet to 15,500.
The project will be funded through a $17-per-credit fee for all full-time and part-time undergraduate students over a period of five years, starting in September 2020.
After the initial cost is paid, students will then be charged a $1.25-per-credit fee to cover maintenance and operations costs.
“Our gym is extremely small and future students are walking into it and have to consider what other schools have,” said Brian Hutchings, vice-president of Brock’s administration.
“It will be a huge competitive advantage to be on the same level as the other schools.”
Hutchings said the decision, having been made by students, also speaks to their eagerness to help future students.
“I think it’s really important that students voted to support students — not just now, but in the future. They voted to support students’ mental health and physical needs. It’s all about mind, body and spirit,” he said.
Faisal Hejazi, president of Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU), made the expansion one of his main election platforms during the last 11 months.
“It’s definitely a huge sense of relief. I was more anxious about this referendum than I was about my own election for president,” said Hejazi, who is planning to head to law school in the fall.
“This is about providing future generations with something that will positively affect their mental health and overall Brock experience.”
After researching and touring fitness centres across Ontario, BUSU and Brock determined the current fitness centre, opened in 2001, is the smallest in Ontario.
Paul Smeltzer, director, Capital Planning and Project Management, said it’s “an extremely complicated” project because the new building will tie into existing buildings and services.
“We have a really good idea of how we need to go forward, but there’s a lot of design work that has to be done.”
Construction will likely get started by early to mid 2019 and will take about a year to complete.