A Dedication to Recreation
Innisfil Recreation Complex
Innisfil, Ontario, Canada
o one can question the Innisfil Recreation Complex's dedication to recreation. With its four illuminated soccer fields, two baseball diamonds, pair of ice rinks and state-of-the-art aquatics center, the facility is an athlete's dream. But that wasn't enough for the design team and town officials. From the project's conception, LEED certification was the aim, and once that certification is finalized the Innisfil Recreation Complex, which is run through a partnership between the town and local YMCA, will be one of the first arenas in North America to earn such status.
"There aren't a lot of LEED-certified recreation centers out there, so we're very proud and excited about that," said project architect Robert Allen of MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects. "It was important to the town, to the Y and to us."
Among the many efficiency measures, the mechanical systems between the "warm" pool and fitness programs and the "cold" arena side have been designed to work in concert. For example, heat recovery from the arena is used to temper the rest of the building. By working in conjunction, the facility will achieve a higher level of efficiency and cost savings over the life of the building.
Natural light infuses the interior. Filtering devices such as deep, sculptural skylight wells, exterior perforated metal screens, light shelves, overhead canopies and motorized blinds help distribute light evenly throughout, mimicking the quality of light outdoors and minimizing the need for artificial lighting.
And that natural light plays a key role in the facility's active, engaging atmosphere. Transparency and views are organized around the central concourse that links the two main entries.
From the concourse, one can view all major program spaces and users within these program spaces, and can catch multiple views of other activities within the building as well as toward those taking place in exterior recreational spaces around the building.
The extensive use of glazing throughout the building provides views of the activities happening within. During the day, key program areas can be seen from the street and the site, encouraging would-be patrons to come inside and enjoy themselves. In the evening, the program areas light up like a beacon within the larger park-like site, reinforcing the sense of community life that has emerged since the opening of the 115,000-square-foot civic facility.
The complex has provided a much-needed boost in local recreation programming, in particular with the increase of available ice time for figure skating and hockey. The arena is now home to the local junior league hockey team, and game attendance has been high. The increase in ice availability has also allowed for expanded figure skating programs and an increase in free-skate and pick-up game times, which are often left out of the schedule when ice time is minimal.
The aquatic and fitness components also help alleviate the demand for pools and indoor recreational facilities in a largely rural area. The YMCA, which manages the facility in a successful partnership agreement with the town, reports that initial membership targets have been met.
"People are awestruck by the size and scope of this facility," said Paul Robinson, vice president of health, fitness, recreation and membership services for the YMCA. "There isn't a lot to compare it to."