Construction updates the main gymnasium.
This past summer the Oland Centre has undergone substantial renovations. A new floor has been installed in the gymnasium, and the old bleachers have been replaced with comfortable and accessible seating.
The changes to the gymnasium are a part of a $1 million project –– which is funded by the provincial government –– to update one of the main venues for the 2018 Special Olympic Games, which are to be hosted in Antigonish.
The project was announced on March 20th by Antigonish’s MLA and Nova Scotia’s Minister of Health and Wellness, Randy Delorey. The goal of the project, he said, is to “create the best national games experience ever for the athletes and their families when they arrive in Antigonish.”
StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald said that the “$1 million investment by the province will help [StFX] prepare [the] campus facilities for hosting [the Special Olympics]. The last time that the province of Nova Scotia hosted the event was in 1994.
MacDonald also noted that no renovation (as extensive as this project) have been made to Oland Centre since its original construction in 1967. But now the main gym has been transformed into a modern facility with a high-standard seating area for 1,500 spectators. Thus, as MacDonald went on to say, this “wonderful gift from the province” and is going to “help in upgrading our facilities in support of our varsity and recreational athletic programs and give us the ability to host more national sporting events.”
It’s clear that the student athletes are excited about the renovations, and, in particular, the basketball teams are surely looking forward to playing on the new court.
“The renovations will be good for the basketball team, in the sense that they provide us with a new beginning,” said second year guard Caroline Hrabinski. “We’re coming off a tough season from last year, so the gym renovations for us seem like a fresh start to a new year and a new season.”
Hrabinski also went on to say that “everyone is excited and happy that the gym has been redone. It felt like it was finally time to renovate the gym, and the whole team is thankful that we’re there to experience this new space.”
Katie MacIntosh, another second-year player at X, echoed her teammate’s sentiments and said that “the renovations in the gym produce a new and inviting atmosphere for students, athletes and the surrounding community. Having this new facility will allow for teams to continue to build upon the athletic legacy at X!”
The benefits of the newly renovated facilities will not only reflect on varsity athletics, but intramural sports as well. This year’s Student Director of Intramurals, fourth year Human Kinetics student Kelsey Fahie, expressed her excitement as well. “Being lucky enough to play on a brand new gym floor is a treat for any athlete, and the new stands will make it more inviting for spectators to come out and cheer on their friends,” says Fahie. She also hopes that the renovations will bring in many new participants. “With a fresh and revitalized environment, I'm hoping to see an increase in the number of participants in the intramural leagues this year.”