Seed planted by couple at Westerner still growing

The public got to see the new Donald Administration building at Westerner Park on Friday as part of a grand opening that drew at least 80 people to the site.

Joan and Jack Donald spoke about the important role Westerner Park plays in Central Alberta during the grand opening of the Donald Administration building

The public got to see the new Donald Administration building at Westerner Park on Friday as part of a grand opening that drew at least 80 people to the site.

The nearly 13,000-square foot building, northeast of the Centrium, has multiple meeting rooms and offices where staff will be able to work. It has a bright and airy feeling, with high ceilings and walls of windows in many rooms.

The building bears the name of Jack and Joan Donald, past Westerner presidents who put $1.5 million to kick start the construction of the building.

“You have to plant a seed if you want things to grow. So I guess we planted that seed and it grew,” Jack said. “It has turned out very very nicely.”

Joan said she was on the planning and development committee and the budget could never go to a new administration building because it never brought in any revenue.

“I thought the only way we’re ever going to get it built is to donate something, which we did, and that made the start to get the building built,” she said.

“It’s a great showpiece as well to the people driving by. They can see this at first when they are driving in the grounds, so that’s a good place to put it.”

The building was designed by Bearden Engineering Consultants Ltd. and the general contractor was Phoenix Construction Inc. The building features double-insulated exterior walls, triple-glazed windows and a highly efficient mechanical system, as well as low-energy lights and low-flush toilets.

For many years, the administration building at Westerner Park has consisted of a doublewide trailer that had been added to over the years. The new facility is a welcome addition to the site by staff, said John Harms, CEO of Westerner Park.

“It’s amazing. What we really notice is staff morale has gone way up,” Harms said. “Everybody has their own office, which they are decorating to their own taste. People are happy and if they’re happy, they’re productive.”

The building is the first phase part of a long-term expansion plan at Westerner Park called the Gateway Project. Phase two, which has also recently been completed, included the realignment of the north parking lot, the addition of 580 parking spaces and the creation of a new gate on 49th Avenue that allows better access to the site.

Phase three will involve the realignment of Pioneer Park and the relocation of the Chalet.

Harms said they would like to continue the momentum they have going with phase three once they have the funding in place.

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