HIGH ACHIEVERS: Projected August opening for $50M Jack Doyle Athletics and Recreation Centre at Algonquin College

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HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic

By Martin Cleary

The dream started a decade ago. And in four months, the Algonquin Students’ Association’s vision will become reality. The $50-million Jack Doyle Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC) is coming into view.

The 125,000-square-foot ARC is the first building owned by the Algonquin Students’ Association. Scheduled to open in August, it’s located in the north-east side of the Student Commons lawn, across from the student residence.

Conceptual drawing of the new athletics and recreation centre under construction at Algonquin College. Photo provided

Ten years ago, the Students’ Association began talking to students, faculty and staff and travelled to post-secondary schools in Canada and the United States to form its mission for athletics, fitness and leisure on campus.

The goal was “to create an environment that inspires a passion for student success.” Complimenting the academic programs at Algonquin, the ARC will meet the competitive/recreational/fitness needs of 20,000 Ottawa students at no extra charge.

The ARC will feature three gymnasiums, a walking and running track, rock climbing and bouldering walls, fitness nodes throughout the building, bowling lanes, a golf simulator, billiards, multi-purpose rooms and a restaurant lounge.

The Students’ Association board of directors recently passed a unanimous motion to name the ARC after Jack Doyle. A former Algonquin student, Doyle is now the Students’ Association’s general manager and CEO.

For more than 30 years, Doyle has been a noted leader, helping the Students’ Association board of directors develop relationships with Algonquin College, serving the students and committing to their success.

“The SA has done many unexpected things under Jack’s mentorship and with his help,” Students’ Association president Emily Ferguson said in a release. “The Jack Doyle Athletics and Recreation Centre is in a league of its own and so is Jack.”

The Students’ Association board considered a few options during the process of naming ARC, but Doyle emerged as the obvious choice, according to Ferguson, who is a second-year Algonquin student.

Jack Doyle. Photo provided

Doyle’s work with the Students’ Association and the college has led to the building of the Robert C. Gillett Student Commons in Ottawa, the Student Commons and Fitness Zone in Perth and the Fitness Zone and Landing in Pembroke.

“Jack has been instrumental in elevating the student experience on all campuses,” Ferguson said during the ARC naming announcement. “People may not know that he has worked for and mentored more than 270 students throughout the years.

“As general manager and CEO, Jack works for students. He reports to the SA board of directors and during their term in office, he mentors them and teaches them along the way.

“He allows us to grow in a supportive environment and encourages us to think for ourselves and aim high when setting goals.”

Doyle has seen many of the former directors on various boards become CEOs, have careers at Algonquin, work in advocacy fields and become Members of Parliament.

Algonquin president and CEO Claude Brule was happy the Students’ Association board of directors attached Doyle’s name to the ARC.

“He has dedicated his entire career to enhancing the student experience here at Algonquin,” Brule said at the ARC naming ceremony, “and he has helped make the college the post-secondary education leader it is today.”

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 50 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.

Martin can be reached by e-mail at martincleary51@gmail.com and on Twitter @martincleary.

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