Members of the Conestoga community, which included family of the late Kenneth E. Hunter, gathered at the Student Recreation Centre at the Doon campus on June 27 for a special unveiling and dedication ceremony.
Conestoga President John Tibbits (left) and Steven Hunter unveil a plaque honouring the contributions of Hunter’s father, Kenneth E. Hunter, in establishing Conestoga as a leader in recreational and community programming.
Hunter, Conestoga’s president from 1974-1981 and 1984-1987, was instrumental in the development of the original recreation complex, gathering support from a coalition of partners that included the Province of Ontario, Conestoga’s student government and a student-run community fundraising campaign. Opening its doors in 1980, the recreation complex remains an important resource not only for Conestoga, but also for the community the college serves, hosting sporting events, curriculum-related fitness activities and community celebrations.
In 2016 the recreation complex underwent a major renovation and expansion to address the needs of the evolving student population and community. The $21.6 million Student Recreation Centre project was developed in consultation with the college’s student association, Conestoga Students Inc. (CSI), and based on feedback from a survey that assessed student needs and expectations for health and wellness facilities at the college. Costs for the renovation are supported by full-time students at the Doon and Cambridge campuses through development fees paid to CSI.
The facility now provides a full range of recreation and athletic services and houses a 35,000 square-foot fitness centre outfitted with floor-to-ceiling windows and filled with state-of-the art equipment. In addition to the recreation areas, new community and social spaces and health and wellness offices have been added to provide a full range of athletic services. In 2017, the Student Recreation Centre was one of 10 projects honoured with a Design Excellence Award by the Ontario Association of Architects.
Scarlett Jarquin, a student in Conestoga’s Bachelor of Science - Nursing program, varsity athlete and employee at the Student Recreation Centre, spoke to the impact the facility has had on her and the important role it plays in student life. “This facility has become my second home,” said Jarquin. “Between varsity practices, work, and strength and conditioning sessions I spend the majority of my time here.” Jarquin credits the state-of-the-art facility and equipment as having the greatest impact by providing the means for athletic success, and noted an increase of student involvement in drop-in activities and intramural sports. “Everyone wants to see what this facility has to offer.”
Hunter’s vision of building stronger ties between the college and the community laid the groundwork for the Student Recreation Centre. That legacy has been honoured with a plaque in the foyer of the facility, recognizing Hunter’s contributions in establishing Conestoga as a leader in recreational and community programming. “I am very pleased to acknowledge the contributions that Kenneth Hunter made not only to the Student Recreation Centre,” said Conestoga President John Tibbits, “but to the vision of the college and the community working in partnership to build a brighter future.”
To learn more about the award-winning Student Recreation Centre facility and programming, visit the Athletics website.