Conestoga College Student Recreation Centre Renovation & Expansion
Client : Conestoga College
Area : Existing: 103,000 sf Expansion: 24,000 sf
Program : Triple Gymnasium, Double Gymnasium, Fitness Centre, Indoor Track, Varsity Team Rooms, Changerooms, Wellness Centre, Student Commons, Classrooms, Activity Rooms, Therapy Rooms, Meeting Rooms, Administrative and Support Spaces
Situated at the southeast end of Conestoga College’s Doon campus in Kitchener, the renovated and expanded Student Recreation Centre converts an underused arena structure into an all-around hub for health and fitness and a vibrant addition to student life. MJMA’s plan for expansion, renovation and adaptive re-use averted the prospective demolition of the existing 40-year-old structure, and instead incorporates its double-parabola roofline into a more cost-effective and sustainable program.
The existing structure’s primary spaces were re-roofed and insulated for better energy performance. The south volume—a little-used hockey rink—was completely reprogrammed with a triple gymnasium and elevated running track, and its south and west walls replaced with full-height glazing that introduces ample daylight and slashes the need for electric lighting. The central corridor between the renovated north gymnasium and newly converted south gymnasium was another major locus of adaptive re-use, and now includes—across two floors—a welcome desk and admin area; men’s, women’s and universal change rooms; a wellness centre; a food service area and student commons; washrooms; and a student lounge.
The scheme is completed by a new linear structure along the Centre’s east façade, which repositions the building’s main entrance to its campus-facing side, and extends the second storey out over a new entry plaza, providing covered outdoor space. This entry plaza transitions into a newly landscaped forecourt lined with bio-swale planting beds to manage rainwater runoff from its hard surfaces. Inside, the expansion houses a new fitness and training centre, complete with a strength and conditioning gym and multipurpose studios. Topped with a green roof and clad in full-height fritted glass, the expansion makes the activity within fully visible to the campus, welcoming new visitors and inviting participation.
Repositioning the main entryway improves movement in and out of the centre, making it more accessible to pedestrians and humanizing the campus. Together with the adaptive re-use and renovation of the existing structure, the expansion has transformed the Centre from a building for athletic events into the new centre for campus life, with room for students to congregate, smart food options, counselling and therapy spaces, and an uplifting atmosphere designed to encourage the adoption of a healthy lifestyle.