Courtesy of Vivo for Healthier Generations
May 25, 2021 | Stefan Strangman
$62-million rec centre expansion generates buzz in northeast Calgary
After breaking ground in April, a project is underway to expand the Vivo for Healthier Generations recreation centre into a true community hub in northeast Calgary.
At completion, the $62-million project will grow the facility to 135,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. Among the exciting features of the new building are an indoor park, expanded meeting rooms, an outdoor community "hug," and a lakeside-inspired aquatic expansion with a fire pit, six-lane pool, sauna and steam rooms.
Vivo's chief evolution officer Cynthia Watson says the centre's revamped design is a result of consultations with community members, accessibility advocates, environmental experts and public figures to ensure the space will be fully accessible for everyone. Healthy living drivers, such as spontaneous play, environmental stewardship and a balance of eastern and western philosophies, were emphasized in the design phase.
"We've actually been engaging with the community since 2012 because we didn't want to design something for them, we wanted to design something with them," said Watson. "It's so intentional in the design. We want it to be more than just a recreation space."
"Vivo helped us come alive as a community and this expansion project ensures that future generations will thrive in the same way." - Jyoti Gondek, Ward 3 Councillor
Yana Soldatenko, executive director of the Northern Hills Community Association, says there is a sense of excitement and anticipation in the area surrounding the development. Some of the new additions will provide the amenities that can usually be found in a community centre, she adds, a facility the area currently lacks.
"It's going to give us so many options to do a variety of events – whatever we want to do – and that's an exciting part. Every time we have an opportunity to work on different things, we keep imagining that space and what we can do later," she said. "Right now, everybody's excited and stoked about this expansion."
The project is expected to be completed in 2023, creating 320 jobs during construction and employing 60 new Vivo staff on an ongoing basis. All three levels of government have committed funding to the project.
"Since 2004, Vivo has been the heart of north-central Calgary. It is the place that encouraged us to embrace our need for play, no matter our age," said Ward 3 Councillor Jyoti Gondek. "Vivo helped us come alive as a community and this expansion project ensures that future generations will thrive in the same way."
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