The City of Kitchener hosted a groundbreaking event to launch the start of construction of the new multi-purpose indoor recreation facility at RBJ Schlegel Park that will meet the current, future and increasingly diverse needs of Kitchener residents for decades to come.

In April 2024, Kitchener City Council approved construction of the proposed premier indoor recreation complex and Kitchener’s first net-zero carbon building. The facility is expected to welcome more than 380,000 people in its first year of operation after opening in late 2026.

The Government of Canada is investing $9.7 million in this project, and the Government of Ontario is investing over $8 million through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP). The remaining costs of this $144 million project, or $126.2 million, will be funded through Development Charge revenues collected by the City of Kitchener.

“The vision for this new multi-purpose recreation facility for our community has become a reality with today’s official groundbreaking and much-anticipated launch of the construction phase. As a Council, and a community, we are grateful for the investment from both the Federal and Provincial governments in one of the most energy-efficient and sustainable recreation facilities in Canada,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “As our community continues to grow, this new recreation complex will help to ensure we can meet the diverse recreational needs of our residents for decades to come and promises to be a wonderful addition to RBJ Schlegel Park.”

The new recreation facility will include the following amenities, all of which are designed to support a greater diversity of sports and physical activities in the community:

  • A FIFA-sized indoor turf fieldhouse that can be divided into four individual fields to allow more residents to use the turf at the same time for sports such as soccer, cricket, and lacrosse.
  • An aquatics centre that includes a community leisure pool and a separate lane pool with several viewing galleries.
  • A second-floor walking track around the perimeter of the turf field will allow residents to stay active indoors all year around.
  • An indoor cricket batting cage to support year-round growth and development in this rapidly growing sport within our community.
  • A multi-purpose space with top-notch athlete amenities, including a large dividable room for community events, family parties or other rentals.
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(City of Kitchener)

The facility has been designed as one of the most sustainable recreation facilities in Canada. In addition to operating at a very high level of energy efficiency through a geothermal heating and cooling system, it will also house the City’s largest array of solar panels that will reduce 22 tonnes of carbon annually and save the City close to $100,000 in utility costs every year.

“Our community facilities are much-loved, but are significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions,” said Ward 8 Councillor and Chair of the Community and Infrastructure Services Committee, Margaret Johnston. “To make meaningful progress towards the City’s GHG emission targets, we are taking our environmental commitments seriously. That’s why this new recreation facility is being designed as one of the most sustainable recreation facilities in all of Canada.”

The new facility has been designed with significant landscaping and other outdoor amenities surrounding it, which will help it fit in well with the existing outdoor elements of RBJ Schlegel Park. The park offers two outdoor soccer fields, a multi-purpose turf sports field, a cricket pitch, four outdoor courts, a splash pad, and other play areas.

“Our government is supporting municipalities across Ontario by investing in recreational infrastructure that offers new opportunities for residents to stay active, healthy and engaged with their communities. The City of Kitchener’s new indoor recreation facility at RBJ Schlegel Park will serve as a community hub for families and residents to come together and enjoy fun, healthy and active year-round activities,” said Kinga Surma, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure.

The City is using Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) in the design and construction of the KItchener indoor recreation complex. Use of IPD in a new build is a project delivery method by which key parties responsible for the design, fabrication, and construction components of the project are unified through a single legal agreement. It is a model allowing more cost certainty and helps projects get built more quickly than traditional project delivery methods. It is a key factor in expediting our groundbreaking this soon after Council’s decision to proceed with the project.

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The Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) partnership includes Multiplex Canada (general contractor), Unity Design Studio Inc., MTE Consultants, AECOM, DEI Consulting Engineers, SpruceLab Inc., Pratus Group, Austin Carroll, Sutherland-Schultz Ltd., and M&G Steel Limited, Guild Electric Limited.

“Investing in infrastructure projects in our community is vital for the wellbeing and active lifestyles of people across our Region. This new facility will provide plenty of space to learn new skills, be active, and come together as a community. While supporting the healthy lifestyles of the community, this facility will also support the wellbeing of our environment, strengthening our commitment to a more sustainable future,” said Tim Louis, MP for Kitchener-Conestoga.

Featured image: (Multiplex Canada)

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