Community Stories

Partnering our way to success

The doors to Red Deer College’s newest facility, the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre/Centre des Jeux du Canada Gary W. Harris, will open this August.

The doors to Red Deer College’s newest facility, the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre/Centre des Jeux du Canada Gary W. Harris, will open this August. Not long after, the building will be home to the five competition sports of squash, short track speed skating, figure skating, badminton and wheelchair basketball when Red Deer hosts the Canada Winter Games in 2019.

The $88-million dollar new facility, located just off QE2 at Red Deer College (RDC), came on the heels of a partnership agreement between RDC, The City of Red Deer and the 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society.

In 2014, The City of Red Deer committed $26-million towards the games, but it had not yet determined where these funds would go. With the partnership in place, $6.5-million of previously unallocated City funding was earmarked specifically for the squash courts and the ice arena at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre in the support of the 2019 Canada Winter Games. An additional $5-million was also contributed by the local host society.

“Because of the partnership between the 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society, The City of Red Deer and RDC, along with the contributions of our citizenry, our community is unequivocally more than ready to host the 2019 Canada Winter Games and welcome 20,000 Canadians to our dynamic city,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “This agreement reminds us that sport building is community building and that community building is country building, and the 2019 Canada Winter Games will redefine Red Deer’s identity on a national level.”

And while the facility provides state-of-the-art teaching and learning spaces for RDC’s students, the College is also building it with the community in mind, offering athletic, recreational and community activities for citizens and visitors alike. It will feature an Olympic-sized ice surface that can be converted to a hybrid-sized arena, performance gymnasium, fitness facility, squash courts and an indoor track.

“This facility will help shape the future of Red Deer College by supporting our students and providing opportunities for the continued evolution of our programming, which is very important as we transition to become a recognized university,” said Joel Ward, RDC President & CEO. “The Centre will also create a legacy for our community for decades to come.”

In addition to the new Centre, construction is rapidly progressing on RDC’s new residence. The building, which is an important part of RDC’s future vision, is also a key piece of the 2019 Canada Winter Games, as 3,600 athletes will be housed in the facility over the two-week period.

The Canada Winter Games has a projected economic impact that sits at more than $100 million with both the Province of Alberta and the federal government also contributing funds towards the Canada Winter Games.

Facilities like the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre/Centre des Jeux du Canada Gary W. Harris are not only an investment and a legacy for our community, but they represent the very essence of the collaborative and innovative city we call home.

Now in its final stages, construction of the new facility is expected to wrap up in summer 2018.

“The Canada Games and their lasting legacies continue to be the catalyst for the growth of sport and recreation across our country,” said Tom Quinn, Canada Games Council Chairman. “The Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre/Centre des Jeux du Canada Gary W. Harris is yet another example of a signature legacy facility that will benefit a Host City for years to come. We are very excited to see the facility once it is completed in summer of 2018.”