Saturday is the day the Southland Co-op Centre in Assiniboia will officially open its doors with the city’s dream becoming a reality.
“My goodness, it’s over the top right now,” says Assiniboia Mayor, Sharon Schauenberg. “It is an amazing facility. We can’t wait, it’s so exciting and it’s the talk of the town. Everyone is waiting and waiting and hasn’t had a chance to go in yet and to gauge the look on their faces when they enter the new arena."
“This is pretty much the nicest facility in southern Saskatchewan and I’ll brag about it!” Schauenberg adds.
Over 10 years of fundraising by the Assiniboia Civic Improvement Association (ACIC) made this state-of-the-art recreation centre possible for the community, with a little help from the provincial and federal governments.
“This was their vision and their dream with Curtis Nelson at the helm for the last 10 years to raise money. Not only the good thing is that we’re going to have this facility but it’s paid for.”
The festivities kick off bright and early with a free pancake breakfast from 9:00-11:00 a.m. at the Co-op centre. Throughout the day there will be live entertainment from Saskatoon’s Lisa Moen, Rockglen’s Tyler Lewis, and Langenburg’s Jess Moskaluke.
A ribbon cutting for the Southland Co-op Centre will take place at 1:00 p.m., followed by an indoor ceremony at 1:30 p.m., and then a facility tour at 2:00 p.m.
The new two-storey 3,900 square-foot complex will have a rink, walking track, teen centre and a pickleball court-sized gymnasium.
Schauenberg says the facility was designed and constructed after the Merlis Belsher Place in Saskatoon, which is a new recreation facility used by the University of Saskatchewan. Belsher is originally from McCord, a small community an hour southwest of Assiniboia. He has visited the site a number of times.
“When they designed it, they incorporated a lot of that, but some of the updated technology to accommodate people with disabilities. Just the different little things that have been added like the team logos on the ceiling lit up with LED lights. Locker rooms have their own lockers, wooden stalls, stick racks, coaches lounges, and a fully licensed concession.”
The new facility is already booked with tournaments for the upcoming hockey season. She confirmed that 11 tournaments will be played this year in the new rink, one of which is a sledge hockey tournament. The hope is the new facility will also become a location for concerts and other events.
The exterior of the rink will feature a large video screen, with the hope to be used for Saskatchewan Roughrider tailgate parties and other outdoor events.
The Southland Co-op Centre will replace its existing arena the Civic Centre which was built back in 1958 and began to become outdated.
Crews broke ground on the new facility on June 28, 2021. The expected completion date was scheduled for the summer of 2022, and to be fully operational by the fall of 2022.
Overall, the new recreation centre cost roughly $15.7 million with $11.5 million pitched in by the federal and provincial governments. The ACIA funds the remaining $4.2 million through events such as the Spring Fever Lottery.
Schauenberg concludes by saying the community contributed to this new rec centre to allow this project to move forward.
Below is the full schedule of Saturday's event: