By Trevor Suffield
Dec. 4, 2008
Members of the public will soon get a glimpse at a $3.8 million makeover of the Rady Jewish Community Centre in Tuxedo.
Rady Centre officials will host a grand re-opening celebration Dec. 7, at which visitors will get to see the results of the 18-month renovation project.
The centre, located in the Asper Jewish Community Campus at 123 Doncaster St., is a not-for-profit recreation and fitness facility. It opened 10 years ago and centre officials felt the time had come for it to be upgraded.
Gayle Waxman, executive director of the centre, said considerable time and effort went into renovating the building. She said the upgrades were needed to keep up with the membership’s demand for services.
“When the building was initially planned they anticipated that we would have maybe 3,000 people,” said Waxman, adding the centre has been so successful that it now has more than 5,100 members.
The centre, which offers cultural and recreational activities to both Jewish and non-Jewish members of the community, is now state-of-the-art, Waxman said.
“Times change, and we wanted to keep up and keep current,” she said.
The 52,000-sq. ft. upgraded facility has a new 82-space day-care centre as well as an expanded fitness area and improved locker rooms. It was designed by Grant Van Iderstine of Smith Carter architects.
Waxman said because space at the location is limited, centre officials could not expand the facility’s existing footprint. That meant they had to find ways to make the most of existing space.
The centre is now home to an XRKade ‘exergaming’ room. Visitors to the room can actively participate in video games such as snowboarding or boxing while exercising.
According to Waxman, the room is the only one in Winnipeg where “the players are like human joysticks.”
The Rady Centre remained open to the public throughout renovations.
Elana Greene, who lives in Wolseley and has been going to the Rady Centre for eight years, admitted it was sometimes difficult dealing with construction. However, the final results were worth the wait, she said.
“I like the new equipment, and there is more space for cross-training,” she said as she exercised on the new Cardio Wave machine, which simulates an ice-skating motion. “The location is great and there is a lot of light.”
For educator Richard Swyston, the Rady Centre offers more than just a place to work out.
“The social dimension for the Jew and non-Jew to network and connect is great,” said Swyston, who returned recently from a teaching trip to Hong Kong and struck up a conversation with another visitor to the centre.
The renovations were paid for in part through fundraising efforts by the Asper Jewish Community Campus. The federal and provincial governments also contributed.
Scott Johnston travels six days a week from Windsor Park to work out at the centre. While his wife has reservations about all the travel, Johnston said he does it “to work out the body and mind.”
Waxman, who just signed up for personal training herself, said the retention rate of existing members has risen in the past year but hopes the wide range of activities offered for families bring in even more people.
“It took a few years, but the campaign met their goal and the dream happened,” Waxman said. “Or re-happened, I guess, because it was a dream the first time.”
For more information about the centre visit www.radyjcc.com.