THUNDER BAY -- After six years of planning and fundraising, the $13.4 million Confederation College SUCCI Wellness Centre saw its official grand opening.
College athletes, staff and community members took the first lap on Thursday, inspired by the first lap taken in the College's old fitness centre.
Confederation College’s Student Union president Jodi Alfonso said it’s important for student mental health and physical health.
“It’s really important for us to have a facility to de-stress, unwind and just enjoy,” Alfonso said.
“Whether you’re running, walking across the track, playing basketball, volleyball…I mean there’s a ton of different things you can do and an array of that. It’s absolutely wonderful.”
The Wellness Centre is named Minowaadiziiwin, which means Lead a Good Life.
The name is meant to reflect the need for all people to balance mental health and physical health.
SUCCI itself took a leadership role in building the facility, contributing 8.5 million.
Confederation College provided just under $3 million, while the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation also gave the project $2 million.
Local MPP Bill Mauro said that spending is part of Ontario's commitment to both Confederation College and the wider community.
“This particular project, a $2 million contribution is one of many we’ve helped the college with,” Mauro said.
“We were here a couple of weeks ago, $9 million on the TEC hub, the reach facility, the camp facility and the ACE facility. The college is a huge part of Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario, so when we can help them when it works, it’s to the benefit of all of us.”
The 37-thousand square foot facility includes a full-sized gym, running track, and cardio and strength training rooms, as well as space for academics.
College president Jim Madder said the old fitness centre didn't fit modern student needs.
Those needs were what helped shape the plan for the new Wellness Centre.
“The bubble’s wonderful, but it was a tennis facility not a lot of our students play tennis,” Madder said.
“A huge amount of the old Neebing facility was squash courts and racquetball courts…that’s great for 1970, but that’s not where they are now.”
Confederation College is offering a free week for community members, who want to try the facilities.
Anybody who comes to SUCCI Wellness Centre before Jan. 19, can sign up to try the centre for free.