New Aquatic Centre will be open to public in January 2017

The UBC Aquatic Centre will be open to public in January 2017, as scheduled.

The Aquatic Centre — located adjacent to the upcoming transit hub — is an elegant addition to campus, with an open-concept design brought to life with natural lighting from three glass exterior walls and a full-length skylight. There are also three separate pools — a 50 metre competition pool, a 25 metre recreation pool with springboards and a leisure pool outfitted with a lazy river.

“There is excitement for the space from the academic faculties,” said Stephane Delisle, senior manager of programs and facilities at the Aquatic Centre. “Due to the accessibility of the facility, there are physical therapy and rehabilitation capabilities.”

The Centre is considerably accessible. The recreational pool and the leisure pools both have railed ramps, and the leisure pool has built-in seating along the outer walls.

There is also a gender-neutral changing area with stalls large enough to fit a parent and child, as well as gender-specific change rooms where “the visitor can choose the change room they feel most comfortable with.”

“The new Aquatic Centre was built with the entire community in mind. Inclusivity was a key design feature,” said Delisle.

The building is not just for swimmers. Additional recreational features — such as a hot tub, a steam room and a sauna — promote wellness and mental health through relaxation.

With ample spectator seating and a spacey mezzanine, as well as a warm coziness and soft light, the new building will continue to be a study space on campus and “secret” napping spot like the old one.

“The face of the pool — its students,” said Delisle. Over 100 students will be employed at the Aquatic Centre in various positions such as lifeguards and instructors.

  • Once the new Aquatic Centre has opened, the old facility will be phased out and replaced with MacInnes Field — a throwback for veteran students and faculty members who remember the field as the home of UBC Quidditch and the AMS Block Party.

    UBC Recreation announced its complete programming on December 1. With springboard diving lessons, all levels of swim lessons, aquafit classes and an instructed lazy river workout class, there is plenty to do.

    Construction has become a defining element of the UBC student experience. With campus-wide developments popping up each year, the university’s landscape has been quickly evolving. Amidst the completed developments, there has been a lack improvement in UBC recreation and fitness facilities.

    “Recreational spaces are at one-fourth or one-sixth of where they need to be,” said Kavie Toor, director of facilities and business development at UBC Athletics and Recreation.

    In a study of other peer North American universities, UBC ranks as having significantly less fitness space per student than comparable universities. At 0.15 square feet, UBC has a seventh the capacity of the University of Victoria.

    In an attempt to fix this, the university started the UBC Game Plan, which is a complete overhaul of existing athletics and recreation facilities. Divided into two “hubs,” the Game Plan will address the lack of student fitness facilities in its “Recreation Hub” and the improvement of athletic facilities in its “Spectator Hub.”

    The Recreation Hub includes a major renovation of the War Memorial Gymnasium and the new Aquatic Centre.

    “It's a game changer for campus,” said Delisle.