LSRC and Dated St. Denis Centre

By: Bryan Dutot

Have you ever been crowded into a busy subway or stuffed inside a small elevator at full capacity? Have you ever had a leak from your ceiling in the midst of a rainstorm? Have you ever wanted to take that particular class but it was only available at a certain time? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you know what it is like to step foot inside the St. Denis Centre at the University of Windsor.

It is not pretty. Unlike whisky, the St. Denis Centre has not aged well. The building is dated and does not allow sufficient opportunities for Windsor students. If the walls could speak, they speak about winning multiple Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) National Titles, now known as U Sports, or about students scoring the winning basket in the multiple different Intramural leagues. The St. Denis Centre has seen a lot but a facelift is overdue.

The current facilities are an embarrassment to the university. Imagine yourself back in high school, you are about to apply to university. Windsor is your last stop after the long drive from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Your campus tour concludes at the St. Denis Centre – the smell of the Forge lingers in the air when you enter the building. Every squat rack is occupied while multiple machines are out of order as you view the workout space.

You view the fieldhouse, the gym where students can play pickup basketball between classes, and notice the gym in closed for Varsity practices. There are a few pails on the ground collecting the water, dripping from the ceiling, from the rain the day before. Lastly, you take a peek at the swimming pool. If the dungeon of a room did not turn you off, the available open swim times most likely will.

Windsor Athletics and recreational facilities are behind in comparison to the rest of Ontario. Last year, students voted in favour of a referendum to assist in the funding to upgrade the current facilities and construct new infrastructure to benefit all students and athletes.

This building cannot come at a better time for the university. Windsor has done a fabulous job at rebranding itself over the past decade. New buildings are making the campus look appealing such as the Centre for Engineering Innovation (CEI), the new Welcome Centre, the Social Work building downtown and in time finally this new recreation centre.

The new facility will be state of the art. It will benefit all the Lancer Athletes and students of the University of Windsor. It will include a new swimming pool, an additional 16,000 square feet of fitness space, a new varsity gym, multiple multi-purpose spaces, and my personal favourite, food vendors – because we can all use a snack.

With this new facility, a student will be able to play basketball with their peers without the interference of the Varsity teams practices and taking over the court. The Lancer teams will finally get a full gym to practice, all to themselves. The athletes do not have to occupy an entire fitness centre at 7am for their morning workouts. Availability of equipment and space will be in abundance. The students will actually have an opportunity to get to utilize a recreational facility to its full potential. More fitness classes can be operational, more staff will be needed and therefore job creation will occur. Windsor will have a facility to compete with other schools to get students to attend the University of Windsor.

When the building is finally built, it will be like going on the subway and finding a seat, being alone in the elevator, patching the leak on the ceiling, finally having the option of what class to take and when. When the building is built, you’ll forget what it was like to step inside the St. Denis Centre and be in awe of the LSRC.

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