Toronto is always under construction and it seems as though not even our esteemed university can escape this trend. This past year, work was finished on the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport.
The sports complex is advertised to accomplish the task of bringing together all members on campus, including non-athletes. It features a 2,000-seat basketball and volleyball field house, as well as research and teaching labs. The centre also offers a variety of services, such as the David L. MacIntosh sport medicine clinic and drop-in classes.
These features come beautifully wrapped in floor-to-ceiling windows at a $58-million price tag. When framed in terms of student contribution, it is important to determine whether this centre is used by the student body in a manner both reflective of and beneficial to the diversity we find on campus. What distinguishes the Goldring Centre as a unique facet of student life?
The Varsity spoke to students to find out what they think about the centre, its services, and their experience using its facilities.
first-year, Rotman Commerce
For his first time at the Goldring Centre, Jeong came looking to play intramural volleyball. Alex finds the building “a lot nicer” than most of its competition.
“The AC seems a bit less well-kept, and the courts on the top floor of the AC are not really suitable for what I’d be looking for. I’m kind of more into sports involving hardwood floors,” he says.
fourth-year, English and philosophy
Ouzounian decided to take yoga classes at Goldring because the session they offered fit her schedule best. “I didn’t actually expect to be in the building much, so I was kind of surprised when a class that was catered to me was offered — I’m definitely not a high performance athlete by any stretch of the imagination,” she says.
Though she loves the newness of the building, Ouzounian believes that the Goldring Centre, “could use some better signage and directions, but that’s a pretty common problem in all of the university’s buildings. I guess it could be helped a bit more by the sort of signage they use at Robarts.”
third-year, human geography
As a member of the football team, Harris comes to the Goldring Centre fairly regularly — about four to five times a week.
Verdict? “The facilities here are impeccable. They’re really second to none, especially the weight room and basketball court,” he says.
Harris also praised the centre’s location; it’s right next to the track after all.
“During the warmer seasons you can go over [to the track], do a couple of runs, work on the field, and then come over here and do a lift or whatever exercise you want,” he says.
But his favourite part about the centre so far is the basketball court. “I’ve watched a few basketball games already, and it’s quite the atmosphere to be here when the crowds are going crazy,” he describes.
first-year, life science
This was Imran’s second time at the centre. She liked it so much that she brought a friend.
“The view is so much better, much brighter that it just makes you want to work out even more,” she explains.
As commuter students, Imran and Lee appreciate that the centre is close to St. George station.
Imran hasn’t experienced crowding at Goldring like some have at the other athletic facilities.
first-year, Munk School of Global Affairs Master’s
It’s all about Goldring’s windows for Southin.
“There’s no windows in the Athletic Centre — which is depressing,” he says.
Southin aims to visit the facility two to three times a week, and he’s found the centre to be fairly supportive.
“They sort of come up and give you tips on how you’re doing it correctly or incorrectly… if you welcome that. If not, they leave you alone, which is probably good too,” he explains.
fifth-year life science
Usataia’s first time at the Goldring Centre was a matter of convenience; she had originally been heading to Hart House.
Speaking about the intimidation factor experienced at some at U of T’s athletic facilities, she says: “Here, I think the intimidating part is that it’s a brand new building, so you’re assuming all the varsity athletes come here, but it wasn’t that bad.”
When asked whether students would be coming back to the centre, the answer was an overwhelming “yes.” The convenient location of the building benefits commuter students and devoted athletes alike. The staff is clearly making the effort to entrench the centre into the U of T community through support and services.
Booking off levels for Varsity athletes or other groups and leaving other levels public takes away from the potential intimidation factor. The practice also takes away from crowding; and Goldring’s presence on campus inherently affects crowding at the other athletic facilities as well.
In the future, the Goldring Centre could benefit from improving its signs and promoting its services. Some students were unaware that the centre offered drop-in classes.
Students share the burden of maintaining the centre’s worth. As Harris put it: “As long as we have it to our availability as students, we should probably be using it.”