Necessary upgrades to the Sandy Hill Community Centre ( Image SH – May 2022)

Earlier this year, I reached out to the Carleton University School of Architecture and proposed that they look at our existing community recreation centres in our community to see how these can expand and improve. 

We are lucky to live in one of the City’s oldest communities, however, this means that our infrastructure is also aging. We have unfortunately not seen the investments needed to ensure our facilities continue to thrive and keep up with demand.  

Lucky for us, the students accepted to take on the project. For two months, a group of eager 2nd-year architecture students designed innovative remodels and additions to three beloved recreation centres in Rideau-Vanier. The one stipulation given to the students by my team and I was to include a regulation-size gymnasium to each facility. 

One of the three facilities students used for the project was the Sandy Hill Community Centre. As we know, the community center is currently not equipped with a gym large enough to support the sport and programming needs of the community. While the current multi-purpose room works excellent for after-school and summer day camp programs for younger youth, the centre currently cannot grow with the youth and families it serves.   

Thanks to the creativity and ingenuity of the Carleton architecture students, we now have several designs that could help inspire a future expansion and revitalization of the Sandy Hill Community Centre.  

All of these, of course, include the addition of a full-size gymnasium, and some have additional fitness rooms to allow for even more diverse programming opportunities for residents. Each design takes none or little from the existing park space adjacent to the centre, opting instead to build into the parking lot.   

With this news of the great work done by Carleton students, I have some other exciting news: the City’s park planning team has begun early review of the potential expansion of the Sandy Hill Community Centre! Stay tuned for consultations in the coming months.