September 27, 2020

BY ADAM SCHWARTZ

Although opening no time soon, the City of Cambridge and Conestoga Sportsplex project is underway.

The $56-million project is set to break ground sometime in 2016, but the project won’t be completed until around 2018. The facility will be 150,000 square feet on 12 hectares of land leased from Conestoga College for the next 50 years. The project, which will be built on the Cambridge campus, is being initiated with longevity in mind and will have two ice rinks, a swimming pool and a walking track once completed.

“We have a few goals in this that are being negotiated,” said Mike Dinning, Conestoga’s vice-president of student affairs. “One clearly is access for our community into the facility. We don’t want something there that the college isn’t engaged in.”

The facility could provide ample opportunities for the students of Conestoga College, like internships and chances for hands-on learning. These, however, are still up in the air and are being negotiated between the college and the City of Cambridge.

One opportunity would be a living lab where students could get placements as a part of this project, Dinning said. “Conestoga has architecture students, maybe they could have a hand in the design or in the planning. It’s opportunities like that which could be beneficial for us and the students.”

The location is key for the City of Cambridge.

“Being by the 401 is fantastic, it’s what sometimes I like to call the main street of Ontario,” said Cambridge Coun. Frank Monteiro. “Cambridge is in a location where you’re only an hour drive from about six million people.”

Some other locations were looked at, including on Hespeler Road, but it was found that the parcel of land there was contaminated and a good part of the project’s budget would have gone into cleaning it up.

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