A complex that's simply superb

Alisha Morrissey
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Sports facilities The PowerPlex, the new provincial recreation and training facility, opens its doors

If you think the PowerPlex sounds like somewhere superheroes might hang out, you wouldn't be far off.

The new provincial recreation and training centre, which opened Thursday in St. John's, is a facility where this province's elite level athletes can train in their respective sports and then show off their skills in local, national and international competition.

The new provincial recreation and training centre, which opened Thursday in St. John's, is a facility where this province's elite level athletes can train in their respective sports and then show off their skills in local, national and international compe

If you think the PowerPlex sounds like somewhere superheroes might hang out, you wouldn't be far off.

The new provincial recreation and training centre, which opened Thursday in St. John's, is a facility where this province's elite level athletes can train in their respective sports and then show off their skills in local, national and international competition.

The world-class, state-of-the-art athlete training facility on Crosbie Road was described in its public unveiling and naming as a commitment to excellence, and a step up for sport in this province.

And it's impressive.

The massive 2,944 square-foot gymnasium, which can be subdivided into two gyms, is large enough to have four basketball, seven volleyball or seven badminton courts playable at any one time.

The PowerPlex also provides Newfoundland and Labrador's elite athletes with access to a boxing/combat room. As well, there is a high-performance centre that is an extension to the adjacent Swilers Rugby Club, and it includes a multi-purpose meeting room, three offices and a strength and conditioning room which is on equal scale, and of equal quality, to many of North America's professional sports teams' facilities.

The gymnasium echoed with applause Thursday as the public got its first look at the facility and heard about the struggle to open its doors.

At the ceremony, the name PowerPlex was unveiled by a choked up Dr. Pat Parfrey, in honour of the late Norbert (Dick) Power of St. John's, an all-around athlete, best known for his accomplishments as a soccer player.

The subdivided gymnasia were named for the late Andrew C. Crosbie and the late Bernard D. Parsons, in recognition of the Crosbie Family's support for the project.

The high performance centre will be called the Dr. Noel Browne High Performance Centre, to honour Browne, regarded as the founding father of rugby in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Federal Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn appeared on behalf of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, which gave more than $2.5 million in funding to the facility.

"I always said I might have found a way to say no to Dr. Parfrey, but the next day he came back and brought Rod Snow, and there's no way we could say no to Rod Snow," Hearn said of the new facilities manager, a long-time international rugby player for Canada.

"This is a big day for all of us ... a couple of years ago, it was only a dream and now it's a reality."

Premier Danny Williams also appeared at the event as a representative of the province, which contributed more than $2.8 million to the $8 million project. He was also there on behalf of the Williams Family Foundation, which made a significant contribution.

Dick Power, who died in 2005 after a long battle with cancer, was Williams' brother-in-law.

"The evolution of sport in Newfoundland and Labrador is about to take a dramatic step forward," said Williams. "We can now show the country and indeed the world that we're ready to take the development of sport to another level in Newfoundland and Labrador."

Williams noted the many athletic achievements this province has made in the last two years, including the Brad Gushue team's Olympic gold medal for curling, Daniel Cleary's Stanley Cup win and Paralympic swimmer Katarina Roxon's chance for gold in Beijing, and says the building should be a point of pride.

"This facility is designed to ensure we continue to nurture young talent so that there will be many more in years to come," Williams said.

amorrissey@thetelegram.com




POWERPLEX POINTS

Construction of the PowerPlex began in the spring of 2007
Sport Newfoundland and Labrador has 50,000 athletes, 20,000 coaches and 800 administrators in 44 different sports organizations
The PowerPlex will have one of the largest hardwood sports floors in Canada
The PowerPlex is equal to half the size of a rugby or soccer field - 64 metres in length by 46 metres in width - and has a ceiling height of more than 10 metres
Four score clocks can keep track of four different events at any one time or be synchronized for a single event
Seating capacity on opening will be in the region of 500 people ,but can be increased significantly depending on the event
A 109.64 square metre combat room, complete with wall to wall seamless sports mat and wall padding, can cater to Sport Newfoundland and Labrador's six qualified combat sports in wrestling, tae kwon do, karate, judo, boxing and kenpo
The high performance centre will include a 242.35 square metre strength and conditioning room, capable of handling up to 20 athletes at any one time

Organizations: Swilers Rugby Club, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Williams Family Foundation

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John's, Crosbie Road Canada North America Beijing

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Recent comments

  • Don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Nice to see the Power family at this ceremony. Norbert was a tremendous individual and athlete. Great choice for the name. Not sure about this Noel Brown fellow though.

  • Don
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Nice to see the Power family at this ceremony. Norbert was a tremendous individual and athlete. Great choice for the name. Not sure about this Noel Brown fellow though.