$7.8-million rugby training facility to start in Langford

Construction is set to begin next week on a $7.8-million Rugby Canada training facility in Langford.

Gareth Rees, Rugby Canada’s director of commercial and program relations, said it will both solidify Langford’s position as a rugby hub and benefit players nationally and internationally.

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The 19,000-square-foot High Performance Training Centre will represent an expansion to the existing Canadian Rugby Centre of Excellence.

It will be located across the street from Westhills Stadium and the Rugby Canada offices.

“It’s very much a jewel in the lower Island market, but it will really serve the whole nation,” Rees said.

“It’s serving players from across Canada. Our Olympic medalists come from coast to coast.”

The two-storey facility will include a 7,000-square-foot gym, dressing rooms, recovery and stretching rooms, kitchen and lounge area, meeting and office rooms, six one-bedroom studio units, a therapy clinic and the Canada Rugby Hall of Fame.

Currently, Rugby Canada players rely on facilities such as the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence to train.

Site preparation is complete and the first phase of construction will be to form, pour and place concrete foundations, said Chad Bryden, who is president of general contractor Verity Construction.

He said about 150 people will be employed during construction.

This project is smaller than the $30-million Westhills YMCA/ YWCA that Verity recently completed for the City of Langford.

It’s a special project in that many involved in the project are donating back to it, Bryden said.

“A lot of the different groups have given moneys back to the building, in the form of different donations from employees to some material donations,” Bryden said. “It’s obviously exciting to work on a national team building.”

Rugby Canada is about 90 per cent of the way to fundraising the total $7.8 million for the project, Rees said.

That includes a federal promise of up to $3 million and $2.5 million from the City of Langford.

The project should be complete by Sept. 1, 2017, said Mike Leskiw, Langford’s manager of parks and recreation.

“The fact that we get to have that on the lower Island is, I think, a great benefit for us,” Rees said.

“I grew up in this city and never had a place like that to train in. I think it’s nice when a community can do that.”

— with files from Mario Annicchiarico

asmart@timescolonist.com

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