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Aquarena renovations

Project on budget, commitment remains for full operation in August 2025

Campus and Community

By Memorial University

The Aquarena, owned by Memorial University and operated by the Memorial University Recreation Complex, continues to undergo extensive renovations after closing to the public in September 2023.

Construction started with demolition, hazardous materials abatement and scaffolding erection.

Work is proceeding with structural reinforcement, mechanical and electrical enhancements and construction of the new extension, which will contain office space, a new family change room and mechanical equipment.

The project is currently on budget and commitment remains on delivering a fully operational facility for August 2025.

Have a look at some of the construction scenes in the video below, captured recently by Memorial videographer Rich Blenkinsopp.

As with any construction project, especially in this economic climate, fall 2023 presented challenges with renovation efforts taking longer than anticipated due to skilled labour shortages, delayed delivery of materials and unforeseen conditions associated with renovating a nearly 50-year-old building.

As such, a delay is anticipated for access to the Aquarena.

Keeping the facility closed longer than anticipated, which was originally estimated to be at least a year, will allow the contractor full access to the building to meet the project deadline.

Discussions are ongoing with organizations to ensure Canada Games and provincial team athlete needs are adequately met.

The City of St. John’s has provided support to clubs and athletes, including those preparing for the 2025 Canada Games, and will continue to do so while the Aquarena undergoes these renovations.

A view of an empty enormous swimming pool with a substantial amount of scaffolding inside it.
Once renovated, the Aquarena will offer users many improved features, including an extended 10-metre diving platform, a three-meter diving board and spectator seating.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Memorial’s pool in the Physical Education building also continues to be used for training.

Public access to the Aquarena will resume after the Canada Games.

It’s recognized that an extended closure may impact athletes, clubs and Aquarena patrons, and we appreciate ongoing patience as work is completed to upgrade the facility.

Memorial’s commitment is unwavering to meet the Canada Games standards to host diving, swimming and artistic swimming and ensuring that the Aquarena becomes a lasting Games legacy for patrons for decades to come.

A huge amount of scaffolding sits in a a gigantic, empty pool.
In addition to the improved features, the building is undergoing mechanical, electrical, lighting, safety and accessibility upgrades.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

When the Aquarena reopens, users will experience several improvements, including an extended 10-metre diving platform, a new three-meter diving board, spectator seating, family change room, more washroom space, new pool bulkheads for swim competitions and a digital media display board.

In addition to the obvious visual improvements, the building is also undergoing mechanical, electrical, lighting, safety and accessibility upgrades.

Aquarena members including students continue to have full-access memberships at the Field House (also operated by the Memorial University Recreation Complex), which has realigned operations and extended hours to meet the needs of members.

Accommodations have also been made at the Physical Education building’s pool.

We appreciate the ongoing support and understanding as work continues toward creating an upgraded and revitalized Aquarena for the entire community.

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