If you’ve been in the core recently, you’ll have noticed that the new Family Aquatic Complex (FAC) is taking shape, and with a report going to council tonight outlining an RFP regarding naming rights and the possible inclusion of a digital screen and solar panels, the facility is gearing to become a major cornerstone of downtown.
The FAC will accommodate both 50-metre and 25-metre swimming events, features a diving well and eventually will house a family water park.
Cited by the city as a ‘catalyst for downtown revitalization’, the FAC resides on land formerly referred to as the Western Super Anchor, and is surrounded by Bruce Avenue, Church Street and Pitt Street.
An official groundbreaking was held on May 11, 2012, and the project was designed and built by EllisDon Corporation/DeAngelis Construction Inc. The City of Windsor allocated a budget of $77.6 million for the facility, which included a $15 million grant from the Province of Ontario.
“Yes we are, [we’re] happy to report that we are,” commented FAC Project Manager Don Sadler referring to the fact that the facility was both on project and schedule.
“The game plan was to have the natatorium – competitive pool side – and the necessary change rooms, spectator area and lobby complete and open to the public for the International Children’s Games (ICG), which run August 14-19 this summer” explained Sadler.
Following the ICG, the facility will be shut down to complete work on the family water park because “there’s interrelated activities which need to happen between the two sides.”
Sadler expects the whole complex will be completely open on December 1 of this year.
Roughly one year into construction of the facility, Sadler explained that they plan on adding water to the pool somewhere near the end of April to do testing “and then probably by June we’ll be able to have some of our staff come in for training. We intend to do some on/off training from mid-June to the 1st of July through game start, so that everyone is familiar with the mechanical systems and the nature of the pool and what they need to do to host these games.”
With up to 100 people on the site working on the facility, Sadler was proud when he explained that “there’s a lot of local content in this build, so that’s really good: there’s a good number of Windsor residents that are working on this job.”
The City of Windsor is releasing a RFP for the naming rights of the facility and Sadler explained that like the city did with the WFCU Centre, allowing naming rights “gives the facility an identity; plus there is some revenue generated from those naming rights, and they’re used for various things [capital improvements and or offsetting operating balances]. With naming rights it’s an ongoing thing, so predominantly the money is used for offsetting operating costs.”
Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.