Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford Campus (Laurier Brantford) and the YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford have been working together to design and build a recreation, athletics and wellness centre in downtown Brantford.
The jointly-operated facility would replace the temporary YMCA facility and modest Laurier facilities to serve the growing recreation demands of students and community members of Laurier's Brantford campus, Nipissing University, and Six Nations.
Laurier's Brantford campus, in its 14th year of operation has seen student enrolment grow from 39 in its first year to over 3,000 currently (including the joint-program Nipissing University students). It is anticipated that a short term goal of 4,500 full-time equivalent will be met in the short term, with a long-range projection of as many as 15,000.
The YMCA has a 150-year history in Brantford and currently operates a “dryland-only” facility in an old factory building near the campus and the downtown core. The original full-service facility operated by the YMCA was converted to housing. The dryland-only facility offers fitness equipment and a dance studio, a mini-gym, a child programming space and support spaces. Membership has declined in the temporary facility ostensibly due to the absence of an aquatic component to the facility.
The target membership of the new facility is approximately 7,000 members, equivalent in scale to the Les Chater YMCA in south Hamilton, which could generate up to 500,000 additional annual user visits. In addition to its typical programming, the YMCA is considering the city’s request to operate a Youth Centre in the complex.
Through their partnering strategy, Laurier and the YMCA have developed an opportunity to create a facility with a range of programming that far exceeds what either organization could have provided independently. The resulting amenity will enhance both the university and Brantford communities.
Over the last 14 years, Laurier Brantford has emerged as a model for the successful economic and social integration of a university campus into the fabric of a city centre. The Recreation and Athletic Centre will play a significant role in the ongoing revitalization of downtown Brantford. As the “centre of active living,” the facility serves as a destination which draws users from both the university and community population. This unique characteristic places it in the context of contemporary hybrid civic architecture.
The facility’s significance to the community is further reinforced by its location on the south edge of Harmony Square and the integration of a fully accessible green roof landscape connection from Harmony Square and Colborne Street to Water Street.
Laurier Brantford- YMCA In the News
Grant for athletics centre - Brant News - June 5, 2010
Laurier, YMCA get athletics centre funding - The Brantford Expositor - June 5, 2010
Rec centre plans unveiled - Brant News - March 8, 2011
Laurier/Y pitch plan for $50M complex - The Brantford Expositor - March 8, 2011
Minister will bring "smiles" today: MPP - The Brantford Expositor - July 12, 2011
$16.6M boost for Y-Laurier complex - The Brantford Expositor - July 13, 2011
$16.6 million for new YMCA - Brant News - July 13, 2011
City approves YMCA-Laurier plan in principle - Brant News - February 7, 2012
City to pay $5.8 million for Y-Laurier project - The Brantford Expositor - February 7, 2012
Laurier Brantford YMCA Athletics Complex wins Progressive Architecture (p/a) award from Architect Magazine - February 16, 2012
Y-Laurier Complex wins design honour - The Brantford Expositor, February 18, 2012
Governments support Laurier Brantford YMCA Athletics and Recreation Complex - Friday, September 7, 2012
Y-Laurier centre gets $16.7M boost from feds - The Brantford Expositor, Friday, September 7, 2012
$16.7M for Laurier Brantford YMCA facility - Brant News, Friday, September 7, 2012
Plans unveiled for Laurier-YMCA facility - Brant News, Thursday, November 28, 2013
Davis family dives in - Brant News, Tuesday, March 18, 2014