Recreation Centre facelift lacks actual lift
After a consultation process including user surveys and suggestions from the OUSA Executive and Recreation Centre staff, last year’s Executive approved a major overhaul of the “tired-looking” facility. The improvements, which will be carried out by Signal Management Group, include the creation of multi-use rooms with movable walls, a movie room, an upgrade of the Centre’s 30-year-old downstairs toilet, and a new heating system. Recreation Representative Blake Luff said OUSA was “looking forward to bringing the building into the 21st century.”
Work to expand the building’s offices and revamp the reception area, including the return of the reception desk to its original position, is scheduled for this mid-year break. Most of the other renovation work is expected to take place over the summer holidays. OUSA is also expected to open a café in an effort to raise independent income. Recreation Centre manager Debbie Coulter said that if construction went to schedule, students would not notice major disruptions at the facility. Staff had been working hard to ensure that most clubs that planned to meet during the construction period could be relocated to alternative practice rooms until the “modernised, more welcoming facility” was ready.
However, the new set-up may not prove to be more welcoming for wheelchair users. While the ageing lift will be replaced at a cost of $23,000, an extension of the lift shaft to the second-floor sauna was not included in the plan, leaving the Swedish steam-box out of reach for some. OUSA President Francisco Hernandez was unavailable for comment on the matter.