Above: Guests lift ceremonial barbell to officially open the new Tait McKenzie Centre
Getting fit at York no longer demands countless hours in a crowded, dark gym, now that the newly renovated Tait McKenzie Centre has opened. Student fitness enthusiasts and a contingent of staff and faculty gathered in the facility Wednesday for an official re-opening ceremony as sunlight streamed in the large south-facing window.
Roger Kelton, left, Chair of York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, said the early reviews of the new centre are in and everyone is remarking on the brightness of the large,11,100-square-foot fitness space with its high ceilings and room for 200 people to use the more than $100,000 in new, state-of-the-art equipment. The space has more than doubled in size and includes new lighting, flooring, and ventilation and cooling systems, as well as improvements to the men’s and women’s change rooms. The centre can also now accommodate a dedicated office for fitness testing and dedicated areas for core strength training and warm-up stretching.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Kelton, who thanked members of the University administration and staff who pushed for the much-needed upgrade to facilities that hadn’t been improved in a decade. “They went beyond advocacy,” said Kelton in an interview, adding there was “clearly a compelling need” for new fitness and recreation centre space to serve the York community’s 60,000 members. Although the centre is one of the largest fitness spaces available to Ontario students, overall York’s sports facilities still fall short of those at comparably-sized universities, Kelton said. There are more improvements planned, not least of which is the stadium project with the Toronto Argonauts and Canadian Soccer Association, announced in the fall. (See story in the Oct. 19, 2004 issue of YFile.)
The stadium will be a “big help”, Kelton said, providing space for both recreational and varsity sports teams, as well as academic space in the form of a research centre and opportunities for the academic and teaching programs offered by the School of Kinesiology & Health Science. Echoing comments by Gary Brewer, York vice-president finance, Kelton said, “Some people think the stadium should not be connected with the University but it’s very important that we are linked with the stadium both physically and through academic programs.”
The new fitness centre is the first of several projects at the heart of the University’s plans for upgrades to York’s sports and recreation facilities. Future building plans include new gym and studio space, renovated squash courts and a 50-metre pool that would allow York to host Olympic-level swim meets.
Closed since last spring, the Tait McKenzie fitness centre reopened on Jan. 3. Patrons now enter through a new south-facing entrance that brings them immediately to the main service counter. Kelton is particularly pleased with the new entrance, which he says “is a welcoming space that makes us feel more a part of the campus.” The entrance also provides better security and control, he noted.
Right: From left, students Pawan Jit, cheerleader Peter Cicco and Siobhan McCarthy participate in a fitness test
As part of its week-long grand re-opening, the centre offered free demonstrations of its many fitness and lifestyle programs as well as daily tours and contest giveaways. More information on the new facilities is available at the service counter, immediately inside the south entrance.
New equipment at the fitness centre includes, Life Fitness pieces of Selectorized weight-training equipment, Hammer strength plate loaded pieces of equipment, eight treadmills, six recumbent bikes, seven Monarch bicycles, eight elliptical cross trainers, eight Stairmasters, four rowing machines, a Stairmaster Stepmill, Hampton dumbbells and plates, benches, and accessories.
Above: Patrons at new Tait McKenzie Centre’s fitness facility enjoy bright new surroundings
Right: From left, Sheila Forshaw, acting director of Sport & Recreation, and Roger Kelton.