A conceptual image, not the final version of what the fieldhouse will look like

If you’ve ever tried going to the Hangar to work out on a weekday–either in the morning, middle of the afternoon, or closer to the evening– you’ve definitely walked in, stood there before scanning your card, observed the dozens of bodies crowded together, and contemplated turning around and forgetting about the importance of physical activity. Or perhaps you wanted to shoot some hoops on the court, but lo and behold, another event was taking up the space. 

More than 3,000 new students joined UBCO this year. The student population has grown to over 12,000, the largest population of students this campus has ever had. This number has been increasing exponentially over the past few years with few added buildings to show for it, especially regarding recreation. 

We have one building to accommodate the active well-being of over 12,000 students. 

No wonder the hangar is busy all the time. 

A 2018 Undergraduate Experience Survey found that “73% of domestic students and 68% of international respondents felt that being physically active is important to academic success.”

UBCO’s 2040 Outlook document shows the immense growth the campus will have both population-wise and with multiple new buildings. These new buildings include more academic spaces for research and learning, more residences, an Indigenous learning space, and much more. Nowhere in their proposed expansion do they mention anything about expanding recreational facilities to improve students, faculty, and staff’s physical (i.e. active) wellbeing. In fact, I searched the document using ctrl+f and found no words matching exercise, recreation, gymnasium, or sports. I did find a few matches for health and wellbeing, but the focus was on mental wellbeing and the clinic.

This is ironic as UBCO supposedly promotes the importance of activity for “student wellbeing, [to] reduce stress and support learning.”

In the 2040 Campus Flyover video, the narrator briefly mentions a new Athletic Centre. This is what the campus will look like in 2040. How long must we wait, as the campus population overflows more and more every year, until we see this new Athletic Centre?

Fun fact: Did you know that over 700 students could not take part in the intramurals this semester because of the limited available recreation space? That’s 700 students left out of an essential social and active program on campus. 

Luckily for us, a group of students has come forward to propose a new recreational facility, a field house of sorts, comprising two gymnasium courts on the first floor, and a workout space on the second floor. If the plan is approved, this will double the current gymnasium space on campus. 

The project will not only lessen the stress involved with working out in such a cramped space, but the new facility will be able to accommodate those large indoor events like orientation, convocation, and finals. Finally, once the new Athletic Centre is built, the fieldhouse will be covered with turf to offer an on-campus indoor field for the winter months. 

A conceptual image, not the final version of what the fieldhouse will look like

This new recreation space is projected to be finished by 2025. 

But, in order for this project to develop, our collective voice needs to be heard. We, the students, must show our need for more spaces to be active, reduce stress, improve our physical, emotional, and social wellbeing, and set us up for academic success. 

So, what can you do?

A petition will soon be drafted and your signatures are needed in order to be considered by the SUO for a spring referendum. 

10-20% of the student body needs to sign the petition by mid-January for the construction of the new fieldhouse. That is over 2000 students. 

The new building is an $18 million dollar project. A third of the money will come from our student fees, another third from private investors, and the last third from the UBCO Senate once the construction of the facility is approved. 

Before the project can move forward, we need to show UBCO that a new recreation facility is essential for the continuation and improvement of our collective health and well-being. 

If you want to know more about this student-led project or want to join the advocacy group, you can email ubcostudentadvocacy@gmail.com