Usually a hub for squash players and swimmers, the Dartmouth Sportsplex is now filled with roofers, pipe-fitters and electricians.
Renovations began at the Sportsplex in May and new features are now recognizable among piles of rebar and insulation. In April, the Halifax Regional Municipality allocated $23 million to revitalize the Sportsplex, which was built in 1982.
“The only two things that really aren’t being touched are the arena and the tanks for the pool,” said Brad Smith, board chair of the Dartmouth Sportsplex Community Association, during a tour of the facility Thursday.
“Everything else is being changed.”
Plans for the renovation include new features and upgrades of existing facilities. New wet-change locker rooms are being built next to the pools, said Smith. Piping for a new splash-pool for kids and a new whirlpool has been laid and new tiling and decking will surround the entire area.
The renovations will also make the pools more accessible, with the smaller pool having a ramp that leads into the water.
“We will have a lift that allows people to get in and out of the pool much more easily,” Smith said.
Two additional waterslides will join the current one, with one of them flowing into its own channel alongside the larger pool.
A large glass wall will be above the pool at the front of the building.
“You’ll be able to do a cardio workout while looking over the harbour,” said Smith.
He added that the 18-month project is on track and currently within budget. The Sportsplex is expected to reopen next September.
“We’re not running into many big surprises, which is always a challenge with any renovation,” said Smith.
Darren Fisher, MP for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, estimated the Sportsplex sees 750,000 annual visitors and employs 185 staff.
At the construction site on Thursday, Fisher announced $250,000 in funding for the Sportsplex from the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program. The money will go towards parking improvements, a new sign, landscaping and a piece of outdoor public art.
The new art piece will be designed in consultation with residents of Dartmouth and Sportsplex patrons.
“I think we need to have a piece of public art around every municipal or public-owned amenity,” said Fisher after the announcement. “It just adds to the vibrancy of the project.”
A new gymnasium, rooms for dance and fitness classes and a small canteen area are also being built. Smith said that the building will have a smarter design, with parking relocated to a larger front entrance.
“Before it was all very enclosed and very tight; now it’s going to be complete open space,” he said.
With files from Bethanee Diamond.