New Recreation Centre and Student Union Boulevard Upgrades

Updated: February 7, 2020
Ad for New Recreation Centre public consultation
The New Recreation Centre received Board 1 approval from the UBC Board of Governors in June 2020. The new facility will provide much needed recreation space including a state of the art fitness centre, three gymnasiums, an indoor track, and many other amenities.
Rec Centre location and site area


This public consultation sought to collect input on the early planning for a new recreation centre proposed for Student Union Boulevard, north of the UBC Life Building. Feedback received informed the design of the future Centre. We were also seeking input on a number of future proposed public realm and street upgrades to complete the vision for Student Union Boulevard.

Planning for a new recreation centre emerged from the UBC GamePlan: 20-year Recreation and Athletics Facilities Strategy, which involved public consultation and was approved by the Board of Governors in April 2017. The strategy supports UBC’s commitment to wellbeing by meeting a growing need for recreational fitness and gymnasium space.

In accordance with UBC’s Capital Projects Policy, a Board 1 approval for a New Recreation Centre was approved by the UBC Board of Governors in June 2020. More information will be made available through the development permit process. 

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Learn More about the Project

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GamePlan context

Through two phases of public engagement, targeted outreach, technical analysis, and financial evaluation, GamePlan identified five key areas where existing facilities do not meet the campus community’s current or future needs:

  1. Fitness space
  2. Gymnasium space
  3. Aging facilities
  4. Support facilities
  5. Academic support for the School of Kinesiology

New Recreation Centre

GamePlan recommended key facility investments to address the five key areas where the community’s needs were not being met. One of these key facility investment recommendations was for a new recreation centre.

This new recreation centre was identified to fill the need for additional fitness and recreation space on campus.

Siting the New Student Rec Centre

In 2017, GamePlan identified the North Gateway site at University Boulevard and Wesbrook Mall as a proposed location for an integrated project called the Global Centre for Sport and Health. Since then, the “UBC Life North” site has been identified as a suitable alternate site due to the proximity to existing recreation amenities, prominence in a highly trafficked central area of campus dedicated to student services, potential to enliven the surrounding public realm, and alignment with the use and aspirations of University Boulevard.

Recreation Centre Vision

This project aspires to create positive change through sport and physical activity in a fitness centre that offers students enough room to move, state-of-the-art
exercise equipment, and a welcoming space to connect with each other.

The recreation centre will support the health and wellbeing of the UBC community, while addressing inadequate recreation space on campus. It will also be the new home for UBC’s Physical Activity Office, whose mandate is to advance physical activity opportunities, initiatives, and research by providing low-barrier, inclusive, and accessible physical activity to the UBC Community.

Rec centre facilities and precedent images

Click on the image above to enlarge 

Recreation Centre Facilities

The centre will bring UBC Vancouver’s overall fitness centre space to 4160 square metres, and will provide:

  • Three full-size gymnasium courts;
  • State-of-the-art weight and cardio workout equipment;
  • Functional training and multipurpose spaces;
  • An indoor track;
  • Physical Activity Office

Vision for Student Union Boulevard

Student Union Boulevard is an important street that supports the movement of vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians in the heart of campus. The vision for this street, as reflected in the University Boulevard Design Guidelines, is an enjoyable arrival experience that reflects the importance of the street as both a gateway into the campus and a destination.

Student union boulevard upgrades

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Proposed Street and Public Realm Improvements

To complete the vision for Student Union Boulevard, there are a number of future public realm and street upgrades proposed for the western portion of the street, Arrival Court and surrounding area. The proposed improvements aim to integrate the proposed recreation centre into the surrounding public realm and improve vehicular, servicing and pedestrian circulation to create a more usable, functionally efficient and welcoming “arrival” to this part of campus.

Planning Timeline

The GamePlan strategy set the foundation for a new recreation centre project. Over the past 6 months, early planning has been underway to explore options and refine the approach for bringing the facility to Student Union Boulevard along with how best to integrate the new facility with proposed upgrades to the adjacent street and public realm.

Rec centre planning timeline

Click on the timeline above to enlarge 

Next Steps

Your ideas and feedback on the proposed vision for a new recreation centre and improved Student Union Boulevard, in combination with further technical work, will be used to refine the project designs.

A summary of public feedback received during this consultation will be included in the Board 1 Report for UBC Board of Governors to consider. The Recreation Centre project will proceed through the standard capital approval process, pending Board 1 approval from the Board of Governors in June 2020. Funding for the New Recreation Centre will leverage a $22.5M contribution that will be collected through student fees, as a result of an AMS referendum in 2017.

The proposed improvements to Student Union Boulevard will be implemented as part of a future Public Realm improvement program. Funding for the proposed future public realm improvements beyond the Recreation Centre site will come from development charges from market housing development on campus.