Over 2,500 square metres will be added to the Kinesiology Complex in a $7 million expansion starting in December.
"This process has been underway for at least three years," said Kinesiology Director of Operations John Paulsen, who estimates the construction process will take between 11 and 13 months with little disturbance to the daily operations of the facility.
Construction was scheduled to begin in September but was delayed due to securing finances.
"Most of it was administrative and getting finances in place," said Paulsen. "New contracts needed to be reworked, but mostly it was making sure finances were in place and solid."
The process was also slowed by the fact a construction manager was not hired until late October. These delays could affect construction.
"Mostly, it's if we get a bad winter," said Paulsen. "It's hard to work if it's 25 below. "
Paulsen estimates that the extension will provide space for approximately 150 faculty researchers and support staff.
"The basic purpose of the expansion has to do with research. The whole focus will be based on human health and wellness," explained Paulsen. "Senior administration has clearly said that health and wellness is one of the pillars of the academic plan and one of the directions that the president wants to move to is to create a strong research base for the university."
In addition to the $7 million construction budget, funds have been separately allocated for the provision of equipment.
"We have left a very large portion of the whole budget for equipment," explained Paulsen. "One of the things that seems to happen is that a lot of money goes into building a space and then it takes a long time to get equipment in for the research."
A team of architects from Victoria and Calgary have been working on the construction design for a year.
"The floor that is going to be added will act virtually as a third floor on top of Human Performance and Sports Med," said Paulsen. "We're also adding another half floor comprised of some of the office and administration space."
Paulsen estimated the Kinesiology Complex sees over two million visitors each year.
"We have about 400 to 500 Kinesiology students and about 65 or 70 per cent of students on this campus come to utilize our facilities for an event or to work out," said Paulsen. "Our role has become the gathering place and the activity place for what really amounts to being a small city."
The Kinesiology Complex closes only on two days each year, and it is pivotal to Paulsen's role to ensure that the construction activity won't interfere with facility use.