Ward: Update on the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre

The buzz surrounding the construction of the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre/Centre des Jeux du Canada Gary W. Harris is building. It has become a conversation topic for folks travelling up and down the QE2. Last week the sign went up on the west side of the building, so for many the mystery has been solved. But for those who want more details, here is a quick primer on the building; why it is important to RDC’s future and how it will support the Canada Winter Games in 2019.

Construction is on time and on budget and will be completed next summer. By the end of this summer, it will be fully enclosed and weather-tight allowing for interior work to be completed.

A project of this magnitude is only possible thanks to the contributions of many people with a wide range of expertise, completing a vast array of tasks. Our new facility is no exception. Here are some numbers:

l Total cost of the Project: $88 million

l Number of people working on the centre: more than 2,000 during the project with most being from Central Alberta.

l Size of the building: 250,000 sq. ft. To give some context, our current campus is one million sq. ft. sitting on almost 300 acres of land.

l Amount of glass: 250,000 pounds

l Length of electrical conduit: Nine kilometres

In addition to the amount of materials required, the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre is being constructed in a smart, energy efficient way. Structural steel for the building was fabricated through earth-friendly processing, with 98 per cent of the structural steel being made from recycled materials. During construction, temporary LED lighting was used. These LED lights reduced power consumption on the job site by more than 98,000 kWh, which is the equivalent to powering at least 10 homes for a year.

You may have noticed the numbering along the windows facing the highway. The numbers indicate the 10 metre increments along the straight stretch of the indoor track.

More than a gym, more than a rink and more than a recreation facility, the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre will provide our college and region with a comprehensive venue for teaching and learning, athletic, recreational and community activities, all vital components for the good health and well-being of central Albertans.

The centre enables us to offer services to complement programming in the areas of athletic therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapist assistant, health promotion and wellness, sport simulation, intergenerational living, health entrepreneurship and sports administration.

The centre will be an important part of our community’s ability to offer the Canada Winter Games to the entire nation in 2019 as it will be a competition venue for short track speed skating, wheelchair basketball, badminton, figure skating and squash.

Thanks to our partners, the communities of Central Alberta and donors like Gary Harris and Jack and Joan Donald, this iconic facility will serve our learners and communities for generations to come. If you would like to learn more about the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, I encourage you to visit our website at rdc.ab.ca/centre for full details and video updates.

Joel Ward is President and CEO of Red Deer College.

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