Axworthy Health & RecPlex

The Axworthy Health & RecPlex is a multi-sport complex, located at the University of Winnipeg, that will help alleviate the chronic shortage of indoor recreational space in Winnipeg, enhance the UWinnipeg student experience and offer neighbourhood youth and residents access to unsurpassed recreational opportunities and new health services. The project is a joint initiative of the University of Winnipeg, The Province of Manitoba, the City of Winnipeg and numerous community partners.

The University of Winnipeg Community Renewal Corporation was the project developer.  Architect was Number Ten Architectural Group.  Project Manager was Resolve Group, Inc. Construction Manager was PCL Construction Canada, Inc.  Tree salvaging and recycling was by Wood Anchor.

Total complex is 189,000 square feet, constructed on a city block within an active campus and community on Spence.

Site demolition began in August 2012, construction began in February 2013 and the project was completed on schedule and on budget. The ribbon cutting ceremony was held on June 17, 2014.

The project has achieved LEED Gold through a number of sustainable initiatives:

  • Energy Efficient LED Lighting provides more uniform field coverage and can be programmed to match particular facility uses for even greater energy efficiency. The facility will use various energy efficient forms of light source, including T5 florescent lighting fixtures, metal halide and LED. Each source offers practicality, lamp efficacy, low energy use and long lamp life.

  • Sports Field Lighting: The sports field light levels will be around 750 Lux, and consequently, there is a potential to waste significant amounts to energy when fields are not in use. A lighting control system ensures that only occupied parts of the fields are illuminated. Additionally, to add to the flexibility of the space, the lighting will incorporate multi-level switching allowing the space to be used at lower lighting levels for alternative uses.

  • Energy Dashboard is a unique building feature showing “real time” energy use to building occupants and highlighting energy savings and efficiencies

  • Heat Island Effect:  A bright white roof will reflect solar radiation helping to reducing the “heat island effect” which threatens urban areas with above average temperatures in the summer

  • Reduced Water Usage:  Low flow showers, faucets, toilets and waterless urinals will be used to reduce water consumption.

  • High Efficiency Condensing Boilers:  Condensing boilers are water heaters in which a high efficiency is achieved by using the waste heat in the flue gases to pre-heat the cold water entering the boiler.  They can reach an efficiency rating of 92%.

  • Tree Salvage, Reuse & Recycling Plan: The plan identified existing site trees for protection and a strategy for the sensitive relocation, reuse or recycling of all the remaining trees on the site. The goal is to ensure that every piece of the tree possible can be recycled back onto the campus, whether as finished projects, lumber, furniture, art pieces or mulch.

  • Reclaimed Wood: The facility will incorporate design features using the reclaimed elm, maple, basswood and spruce from the site. Some examples include:

    • Feature walls using 1×6 elm wood slat board. Some of these walls can also serve as acoustic treatment for the space when combined with acoustic insulation behind the wood.

    • Handrails and guardrails.

  • High R-Values: Tightly sealed insulated metal exterior wall panels with an R-value of R28 combined with an R38 roof assembly will reduce heat loss, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Ample glazing & tubular skylights: Generous glazing into the new complex will reduce the need for artificial lighting and energy use.

  • High Efficiency Glazing: Low-E coated, argon filled sealed glazing units in thermally broken window frames will allowing minimal heat loss or gain into the building. 

  • Sun Shading: Sun shading devices on the outside of the glazing reduce solar heat gain in summer months.

  • Heat Recovery Ventilator: The warm air exhausted from the building passes through a heat recovery ventilator and transfers heat to the incoming cold air, thereby reducing the amount of energy required to heat the building.

  • Radiant In-Floor Heating & Cooling: Portions of the new building are heated and cooled by piping in the concrete floor. This system allows for an efficient delivery of heat that saves energy and greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Heat Pumps: Heat pumps are used in the facility to provide heating and cooling where required while effectively “moving” energy to where it is needed.

  • Daylight Harvesting & Occupancy Sensors: Lights will only turn on when the room is occupied. All rooms with windows such as the Lobbies, open office areas meeting rooms etc. will include daylight harvesting sensors and relays to turn the fixtures off during daylight hours where light levels permit.

  • Future Proofing: The facility is designed to allow for easy future upgrading to technologies that are currently cost prohibitive. These include grey water re-use in toilets and passive solar energy strategies such as evacuated (vacuum) tube solar water heating and photovoltaic arrays to generate electricity.

Other building features include:

  • SE Main Entrance has been illuminated to provide a “Welcoming” effect with energy efficient fixtures above each landing and shadow boxes along the elevator wall.

  • The south end green pedestrian corridor and sidewalk links the RecPlex to the West Campus.

  • A linear student lounge on the 2nd floor of the complex increases student space on campus.

  • The multi-purpose room has a special HVAC system and acoustic tile for smudging and drumming circles.

  • The exterior Tyndall Stone feature wall is made from stone which was used in the construction of the Murray Home in Old Kildonan. In 1871, one room of that home became Manitoba College. The college later became one of the constituent colleges of what is now known as the University of Winnipeg.

  • The facility has a 194 stall underground parkade and 55 underground bike stalls (additional 10 outside) to support the facility and campus.

  • A critical project design goal was to provide access and engage the local community by animating the main level with glass wall on Spence Street and glass and cut out soccer ball windows on Young Street.

  • The 90m x 50m field meets minimum FIFA requirements and can be divided into three fields. Field space can be used for soccer, flag football, lacrosse and other field sports.

  • A regulation four-lane 60m track and long jump pit is located on the east side of the facility, along with 2 indoor retractable batting cages.

  • The Community Gym on the second floor has a hardwood floor and is available for basketball, volleyball, badminton and other court sports. The gym will also have a climbing wall.

  • Multi-media lounge space for students and visitors.

  • Food and beverage kiosks.

A community charter will assure perpetual community access to the facility. The community charter principles include: inclusion, accessibility, respect, openness, accountability, health, sustainability, healing, and wellness

The RecPlex is connected via skybridge to UWinnipeg’s existing Bill Wedlake Fitness Centre and Duckworth Centre, which accommodates UWinnipeg’s Faculty of Kinesiology, academic initiatives and a Health, Wellness and Healing Centre. Health services are open to students and inner-city residents and include a clinic offering primary health care, athletic therapy we well as a pharmacy.

Environmental Sustainability

Environmental impacts, including the local and global responsibility to protect the health and well-being of humans and ecosystems, are factored in all decisions related to UWCRC activities. In keeping with the Campus Development Plan, a minimum LEED Silver standard has been mandated and energy efficiencies are being maximized.

UWCRC works closely with community partners, health and civic agencies to ensure needs are met and opportunities realized for its diverse community., which came into effect July 1, 2012. The new facility also allows for community programs with student practicums, and part-time employment opportunities for students. A Community Charter was developed with a broad coalition of youth-serving agencies and community stakeholders. Charter principles guarantee access to community activities in the Axworthy Health & RecPlex now and into the future. PCL Construction, in partnership with  Inner City Renovations, was committed to employing inner-city residents on the project. 

Economic Sustainability

UWCRC initiatives are contributing to a vibrant, diverse and dynamic local economy by supporting new and existing businesses and expanding employment opportunities. 

The Axworthy Health & RecPlex will be revenue-generating, with operations supported by a mix of user leases and parking fees and support from an athletic student fee which was approved in a student referendum. Construction of the facility was possible because of generous government grants, with the Province of Manitoba contributing $15 million. 

Cultural Sustainability

All work of UWCRC considers the importance of enhancing the quality of life and place for all citizens through the celebration and recognition of the community’s diverse cultural identity. 

The facility welcomes, is accessible to and supports the wellness of a diverse inner-city community. In particular the complex provides options to particiate in indoor soccer, which is the number one sport for many of the newcomers to our community.