If there was ever any doubt, the opening of a $18.2-million Athletics and Fitness Complex in Sarnia last week confirmed Lambton College is on a major winning streak.
It was standing room only as students and dignitaries packed the house Oct. 18 to celebrate completion of the single largest renovation in the school’s history.
The shiny new 40,000-square-foot sports complex combines academics, varsity sports and leisure spaces.
“This is the new home of the Lambton Lions, and the best venue for recreational and athletic programming in the Ontario college system,” said college president Judith Morris.
“There’s truly something here for everyone.”
At the centre of it all is a double-gymnasium with seating for 1,241 spectators. Two full-sized basketball courts can be partitioned for simultaneous games, with an upper-deck media booth wired for live game feeds.
A ceremonial slam dunk got things rolling.
“It’s a great a place to be. It gives you confidence,” said Lion’s basketball rookie Jaone Walters.
“It feels legit, like we’re actually pro basketball players without being pro basketball players.”
Video congratulations arrived from sports personalities via the gymnasium jumbotron, including well wishes from figure skaters Michael Marinaro and Tessa Virtue, and Toronto Raptors broadcasters Paul Jones and Jack Armstrong.
“Your enrolment is going to increase. Your exposure to all the other great things here is going to be bigger and better because of this facility,” said retired NBA player Leo Rautins, who delivered the keynote speech.
A second-level fitness centre features $600,000 worth of fitness equipment, and an attached studio that allows both live instructional classes and a big-screen workouts from a digital library.
In addition to new classrooms, the level features a glassed-in space overlooking the gym.
Entering from the south campus, students are greeted with a wide and sun-lit atrium with places to sit and study.
Later that evening, the Lambton Lions basketball teams christened the gym by hosting Conestoga College. Both Lambton squads were victorious, with the women’s team winning 62-52, and the men 96-89.
The sports complex is the second major expansion at the Sarnia campus this fall.
In September, the college unveiled a $14.2-million Centre of Excellence in Energy and Bio-Industrial Technologies for academics, industrial training and research.