The Maples Community Centre is planning a multimillion-dollar expansion that could see up to five new buildings take shape on its sites at Adsum Drive and Elwick School.
On Tues., June 18, the centre unveiled early drafts of a plan to build a new gymnasium and indoor soccer pitch, and expand its existing multiplex arena the club says it needs to meet an exploding demand for services and programming.
"It’s really intended to meet a lot of operational and functional requirements the Maples needs," said Tom Barak, vice-chair of the club’s building committee.
"The club was built in the 1980s. Our population is exploding. We got a huge space crunch, and it’s really affecting a lot of things."
The space crunch means the club is turning away people in record numbers, Barak said.
Maples sees about 400 to 500 kids annually for both its soccer and baseball programming, and still has to turn kids away to other clubs, Barak said.
The club is also having to turn down requests for socials and concerts looking to host events for up to 1,000 people. Despite being able to meet that capacity, the club legally can’t under its permits because the facility’s bathrooms are too small, Barak said.
"We get five or six requests a year. We’re turning five to 6,000 people away a year, technically," Barak said.
Maples wants to build a new, provincial league-sized gym that can be split in two courts to meet the demand for basketball, and turn its existing court into a multi-purpose space for other events.
It also wants to build an indoor soccer field, and renovate its arena bathrooms to host 1,000-person events.
"We have so many people coming to us with great ideas and we can’t take advantage of them. It’s just extremely frustrating," Barak said.
"This is not just a place to hang out. This is a passion for some people."
The club has been organizing its plan for the last three and half years through surveys and outreach with the community and stakeholders, said Barak.
The club also wants to see new buildings that could house a government office or immigrant resource centre, a retail shop, and space for up to 60 new nursery and daycare spots.
Prairie Architects has been hired to conduct a feasibility study on the plan, which Barak expects to be finished this fall. No existing playing fields will be lost, and the study will determine what existing spaces can be repurposed, reused or demolished, Barak said. The club has land at Elwick School if it needs, he added.
Barak was hesitant to put a price tag on the expansion as numbers are far from being finalized. However, he said it would be comparable to the Seven Oaks Arena being built at Garden City Community Centre — around $17 million.
The club will be bringing $1 million of its own to the table, and is courting the private sector, along with each level of government and the Seven Oaks School Division for contributions.
"It’s definitely ambitious," said Barak.
"But, there is a desperate need. We hope we can finish within the next two years."
For more, visit http://maplescc.ca or call 204-953-1190.