Residents in northwest Calgary now have a new place to exercise, play and connect with their community with the new Shane Homes YMCA in Rocky Ridge.

The Rocky Ridge YMCA is the third of four new recreation centres built specifically for the purpose of improving service for residents.

While the building has been open to the public since last month, the grand opening of the facility was held on Thursday morning. The YMCA says that it has already seen a huge response from people.

“Our membership sales in the past few months have surpassed our expectations; the City’s decision to bring a new facility in the Northwest was very well-founded,” said Shannon Doran, president and CEO of YMCA Calgary in a release.

It features:

  • a 25m, eight-lane competition pool with viewing area
  • leisure pool with a wave system and waterslide
  • hot tub and steam room
  • competition and leisure ice surfaces
  • three full gymnasia
  • a fitness centre and exercise studios
  • a running track
  • art-making studio space
  • childcare and child-minding
  • food services
  • a 250-seat theatre
  • a physiotherapy and medical clinic
  • a contructed wetland and natural park

It’s also the site of a unique self-service branch of the Calgary Public Library, an express service for borrowers based on convenience.

“This is a starting point for the Library with this new service model and we will continue to develop it as we learn more how people use it. Our goal is to employ this model throughout the city as opportunities arise,” said Bill Ptacek, with the Calgary Public Library, in a release.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi is proud of the work that’s been done at the site and says it will serve the residents of northwest Calgary for years to come.

“It’s one of four new rec centres that we’ve built since 2010 in the City of Calgary. The Y has sold two to three times more memberships than expected,” he said. “I hope that it will serve as a place for community building for generations to come.”

He says it’s important for public buildings to get the right amount of investment.

“Public buildings need to stand the test of time. They need to be beautiful. Sometimes we build utilitarian things to get more of them and sometimes we build things to make a statement and sometimes we build things in the middle. In this particular place, sometimes you have to say to people that this stands for our community; this is where people will belong. You need to be able to be in a world where someone who has just arrived as a refugee from northern Kenya comes and sits on the stationary bike next to the mayor and understands that that is a statement about our community.”

Construction on the 284,000 square foot facility began in March 2015 at a cost of $192M from planning to final construction.

The other facilities in the city’s plan, the Remington YMCA and the Great Plains Recreation Facility, both opened in September 2016 and the final centre, in Seton, is scheduled to open in early 2019.

All four were developed through a $480M investment from the City of Calgary.