The UBC GamePlan: 20-year Recreation and Athletics Facilities Strategy was developed to support UBC’s commitment to the well-being of the university community and beyond. The GamePlan process began in 2015 and concluded in spring 2017. The GamePlan strategy set the foundation for the New Recreation Centre project, which aspires to create positive change through sport and physical activity in a fitness and activity centre that offers students ample room to move, state-of-the-art exercise opportunities to achieve their fitness goals, and a welcoming space to connect with each other. The Centre will be the new home of UBC’s Physical Activity office, which translates leading edge research into real world programs that promote physical activity in underserved demographics and more broadly across our student population.
In response to the GamePlan work, students in 2017 overwhelmingly approved, through a student referendum, a funding contribution towards a new recreation centre to be collected through annual student levies. There is a strong desire from the Alma Mater Society (AMS) and students to move forward with this project, as students currently exercise in crowded, outdated campus fitness facilities in two different spaces that total only 1,500 square metres, providing only 0.033 square metres per student — one of the lowest metrics in the country. With UBC’s current enrollment of 55,000 students and more vibrant growth anticipated, the need for more room to move has reached a critical level.
The new facility will increase the fitness space available for each student to approximately 0.076 sq m. per student and elevate UBC to comparable Canadian university per-student standards that range between 0.039 and 0.101 sq m.
In February 2020, there was public consultation on the location, surrounding public realm and general vision for the recreation centre. 112 community members participated, with the majority of feedback expressing support for the proposed recreation centre. There was some concern raised about the close proximity between this new facility and the existing UBC Life Building. Particular attention will be given during the design process to: create a vibrant and comfortable space between the two buildings; support the extension of the UBC Life north/south pedestrian spine; and to mitigate where possible impacts on the existing UBC Life users.
The new facility will address space and program deficiencies in the School of Kinesiology through a shared-use gymnasium.