The NexSource Centre was officially opened to the community of Sylvan Lake to the sound of much applause, and with an attitude of pervasive thankfulness among everyone involved. The official NexSource Centre Grand Opening took place on May 12 and 13, and resulted in so much clapping that Mayor Sean McIntyre jokingly referenced his concern that people would have sore hands by the end of it.
McIntyre, Sylvan Lake Town Council and a number of government and business dignitaries were in attendance to celebrate the contributions of everyone involved in each step of process of the ideation, design and construction of the large multiplex faclity and its assortment of amenities.
Every single corporate sponsor, community leader and volunteer was acknowledged for their many contributions toward the project. Groups such as the Multiplex Redevelopment Task force, and the NexSource Fundraising Committee were given accolades for their work over the four and a half years the project took.
“This is the biggest project in our community’s history – and it was made possible by partnerships with our residents; with Council; our staff; by contractors and regional partnerships; our neighbours; our community of amazing corporate citizens and and an army of dedicated and community-minded volunteers,” said McIntyre, who served in the capacity as host of the event.
There was a sense of homecoming with the NexSource Centre’s official unveiling – in both the sense that it was a community effort to make the multiplex a reality and the sense that it was allowing local teams and groups to come back and have their own facility to practice in, rather than having to travel to other neighbouring communities to do so.
McIntyre called many up to the stage to be acknowledged for their contributions throughout the night. Among those called up and celebrating was Mark Hentze with CEI Architecture – the firm that designed the NexSource Centre.
“This journey began with the collapse of the old arena. When my mom sent me the news clipping of it to Vancouver … I said ‘let’s get this project.’ Council staff had the opportunity to say ‘we’ve had a terrible crash in the economy, and we just need to scale this project down,’ but they had a vision that this is a gathering space for your community,” said Hentze. “It’s important for the future and vitality of your community, and you folks stuck with that vision and saw through with it.”
Although Hentze said he was proud to be credited for his work, he stressed how much of a collaborative team effort the NexSource Centre was – with engineers, architects, project managers and leaders from the community working as one integrated team to make the ideas that the NexSource Centre began as a single reality.
“One great thing I take pride in is how we got to design it. We gathered groups of stakeholders representing all the communities and interest groups … and designed this very concept over the course of four days,” said Hentze. “I hope you folks who were involved take great pride when you walk around this building, and see the things you personally contributed to, because this building is about you and your community.”
Abbey White, representing NexSource Power, stated that everyone with NexSource were proud of what had been accomplished, adding “we feel a real sense of community and family, every time we drive by. It’s important that our community has a place where they can gather for sports and fun. This is the kind of place they can be proud of and judging by the smiling faces here today – that pride is in this room.”
Amy Komarniski, one of the co-chairs of the Fundraising Committee, said that the project began as group of separate recreation facilities, but now is a “cross section of the community, welcomed into one space and a shared location to be proud of.” She thanked the many sponsors for stepping up to support the project in such difficult economic times.
McIntyre spoke to guests about how much of a boon for the community and NexSource Centre winning the 2014 Kraft Hockeyville competition was, adding that “it didn’t matter if you were a curler, swimmer or soccer player, a hermit or anything in between – Hockeyville brought us together and that wouldn’t have happened without the leadership of this amazing community.”
A special message of congratulations even came from sportcaster Ron McLean who reminisced in a letter addressed to the community about his time at the lake, meeting his wife, “water skiing in the summer and skating in the winter,” adding that “if I could, I might like to go nowhere just to be with you and take in this view. Congrats on your new facility.”
The night was not all formalities. After an official ribbon cutting, which marked the ending of the formal ceremony, locals availed themselves of the many recreational facilities at the NexSource Centre for the rest of the evening and the following day.
Guests had plenty to do, with free skating, swimming, the Spring Fling Curling Bonspiel and lacrosse games going on just around the corner. Shortly after the ribbong cutting, the rambunctious and humorous musical talent of the Calgary Duelling Pianos was available to guests, as well.