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New sports complex to be built at Varsity Stadium

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U of T is set to gain a valuable athletic and student asset in the form of the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, announced last month with work scheduled to begin in the spring of 2012. The Goldring Centre will be located alongside Varsity Stadium at Bloor and Devonshire.

The $58 million Centre will be funded in part by a $22.5 million investment by the Ontario Government, alongside private donations including the $11 million donated by the Goldring family.

The centre will “open up additional sports science research space for graduate students and undergraduates in the Faculty of Physical Education and Health,” according to Anita Comella, Assistant Dean, Co-Curricular Physical Activity and Sport. Comella notes that “kinesiology and health education students will benefit from the opportunity to conduct research in labs [that the new Centre will contain].”

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Facilities will “not [be] allocated only to high performance athletes,” explains Comella, and the “only space that University of Toronto students will not be able to access will be the research labs, unless they are conducting research in them.”

Any benefits of increased research will not be restricted to high performance athletes alone. Comella explains that there will be a high degree of “knowledge translation across a wide spectrum of programs, impacting varsity athletes, whether Varsity Blues or our Olympic athletes, [as well as] coaches and students.”

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A theoretical example of such knowledge translation cited by Comella would be the application of “hydration research to the way we run Camp UofT,” suggesting that the products of theoretical work will extend beyond athletic competitors to general health and fitness.

The Pan-Am Games Athletics Centre currently being built on the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus will include the Canadian Sports Institute Ontario (CSIO) Project, which will serve as a national high performance centre after the Games are completed. However, Comella says there will be “no duplication,” despite the similarities between the two projects coming up on the two University of Toronto campuses.

According to Comella, moving to UTSC will “provide CSIO with an institute space.” She further explains the Faculty of Physical Education and Health is “in partnership with CSIO,” and that this is likely to lead to a “regional centre at the Goldring Centre” to complement the central administrative and institutional space being built at UTSC.

Apart from the research facilities, the Goldring Centre will feature a strength and conditioning centre and spaces for a number of sporting and health activities.

Other facilities at the Goldring Centre will include a 2,000-seat field house that can be used for basketball and volleyball. The field house will be an additional venue alongside the basketball courts at the existing University of Toronto Athletics Centre.

The Goldring Centre is also expected to accommodate expanded facilities for sports medicine. Andrea Prieur, Head Therapist at the David L. Macintosh Sports Medicine Clinic at the University of Toronto, notes however that space allotments for the design for the Centre haven’t yet been completely confirmed. According to Prieur, the sports medicine facilities at the Goldring Centre will be “brand new, [with] nothing to compare it to for what we have at the moment.”

Current construction forecasts set the completion date for the Goldring Centre sometime during the summer of 2014.