The population of Cochrane has nearly doubled since the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre was first constructed.
With this growth comes the need for increased recreation facilities, which is why the centre is currently undergoing a $45 million expansion.
A new curling rink and enhanced aquatic facilities are being added. That includes a new pool with eight 25-metre long lanes, two water slides, a hot tub, a leisure pool with waves and a warm pool for physical therapy. The larger pool will mean local swim clubs can host competitions.
On the curling side, six full sheets and three junior-size sheets are being installed. The fitness centre of the sports facility will also be expanded. In all, another 150,000 square feet of space is being added in addition to the original 200,000 square foot floor space.
The steel went up over the summer and has now been encased, with a grand opening scheduled for March of 2017. Despite the scaffolding and parking constraints outside, and the blocked hallways and draping inside, the facility is operating normally with minimal disruption to patrons. It is estimated that 10,000 people a week in Cochrane and surrounding area use the facility.
Residents of nearby Riversong, a community to the south of the sports centre, have been watching the construction process with interest. As the nearest neighbourhood to the rec complex, Spray Lakes is one of the community's largest amenities. Residents can easily access the centre on the River Avenue Bridge or by the connecting pathways.
The centre is a huge selling feature for Riversong, as well as for potential buyers in Fireside.
Single-family detached homes have just started selling in Fireside and knowing that a leisure centre is within walking distance of the neighbourhood is a perk for families with active children.
In addition to individual and family admission to the facility, a variety of sports teams call the Spray Lake Sawmills Rec Centre home. That includes the Cochrane Minor Hockey Association, the Alberta Minor \Midget Hockey Association, Cochrane Minor Basketball Association, Minor Soccer and the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Association. There are badminton and volleyball leagues, squash, handball and racquet sport organizations, wrestling clubs, gymnastics and swim clubs and figure skating clubs which all use this building.
The sport centre is owned by the Town of Cochrane and by Rocky View County. Each body has a 50% share of the facility. It is managed by the Spray Lake Sawmills Recreation Society, founded in 2001 to oversee the administration of the facility. The Society is comprised of a volunteer board of concerned residents and community stakeholders.
Once the expansion is completed, it should meet the needs of Cochrane residents for the next 20 to 30 years.
The cost of the new expansion is covered in part by fundraising in the community. The goal is to raise $10.7 in public money.
A live webcam monitoring the progress of the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sport Centre renovation and expansion has been installed and can be viewed on the Town of Cochrane's website.