Two new waterslides, almost twice as much space, a new library, improved gymnasium, several multipurpose rooms and a dance studio greeted visitors to the G.H. Dawe Community Centre on Tuesday.
The $29.9-million revitalization project, at 56 Holt Street in Red Deer, opened for the first time to residents on Tuesday, with two lucky families being the first to try the new waterslides.
Kyle Reed, his wife Kai-li, son Andy, 11, daughter Andrea, five, and son Elijah, one, got to go down the slides for the first time after writing into the City of Red Deer website.
“It was pretty neat, you’ve got everyone staring at you, but the kids couldn’t wait. We had to do the countdown (to five) and they wanted to go down on three, but it was a pretty neat experience for the family,” Reed said.
He and his wife grew up on the northside of Red Deer and spent their time at the Dawe Centre as kids.
Now living in Johnstone Park, they plan to drop by as much as they can to enjoy the new facilities.
“We’ve been to the Collicutt and the Rec and Michener, but it’s nice to have something close to home,” Reed said.
In the past, the Dawe Centre had just a children’s play pool area, four-lane lap pool and hot tub.
The centre now has two new waterslides, a leisure pool, spray pool, stream room and sauna.
The facility took over the G.H. Dawe Community School’s gymnasium, which can be divided into three spaces for activities.
There is an expanded fitness area, an additional four multipurpose rooms and a dance studio.
The arena area has been refurbished with new female change rooms added and the library has expanded.
June Larson, recreation facilities supervisor, said before the project got underway the Dawe Centre was in a desperate state of repair. The building was nearly 30 years old.
Larson said now there is 45 per cent more space and construction crews incorporated many energy-efficient measures into the building, including mechanical and heat-recovery systems.
The renovations added 33,000 square feet to the building, bringing it to 94,000 square feet in total.
That compares to the Collicutt Centre at 200,000 square feet.
Larson said the project came in on time and on budget. The centre shutdown on March 31, 2008, and was closed for a little more than two years.
The aquatic area and fitness areas will be open from 10 a.m. from 10 p.m., Monday to Sunday until Sept. 6. The library is open from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday. A family day pass costs $14.50, adult day pass is $5.75, senior day pass is $5.25, youth day pass $4 and ages three to 12 is $3.
The Dawe Centre’s official grand opening is set to take place on Sept. 25.