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REF NO.: 23

SUBJECT: Memorial University holds ceremony to officially open The Works recreation facilities

DATE: Oct. 22

Ribbon-cutting basketballs and volleyballs were flying around the Field House as part of the facility's official opening ceremony held today. Officials from the university gathered with students, faculty, staff and guests to formally open The Works recreation facilities on Memorial's St. John's campus. The ceremony was held on the presentation court of the new $13-million Field House, the centre-piece of The Works recreational complex, which includes the Aquarena, specialized facilities in the university's School of Human Kinetics and Recreation and outdoor sports pitches.

Participating in the colourful opening ceremonies were President Dr. Axel Meisen, Premier Roger Grimes, Memorial officials including Chancellor John Crosbie and Board of Regents Chairman Edward Roberts and several varsity athletes. Also on hand for the opening were students, faculty and staff and a number of officials from the provincial government and the City of St. John's.

In his remarks, Dr. Meisen noted that the dream of first-class recreation, sports and athletics facilities on the St. John's campus has been realized and received enthusiastically by students, members of the university community and members of the public. "For decades, it has been the dream of students to have such facilities and I am pleased that The Works is proving to be a great success," he said. "Approximately 800 students use the facilities daily, primarily for basketball, volleyball, tennis, badminton, squash, running and walking, fitness and strength training. The track in the Field House serves over 1,200 users per week on a drop-in basis. The track is an excellent place to walk, especially in bad weather."

"I want to express particular appreciation to the provincial government whose matching funding program for The Opportunity Fund helped to finance this outstanding facility," Dr. Meisen said. "In addition, we are most grateful to students, alumni and other donors for their support for the project. We also appreciate the continuing financial support that we receive from the City of St. John's for the Aquarena."

"Government is pleased to have committed $29 million to The Opportunity Fund, a portion of which has gone into Field House," Premier Grimes said. "This, along with tuition reduction and recent changes to the student aid program, demonstrates government's continuing commitment to post-secondary education in the province."

Mr. Roberts noted that students from this province are the major beneficiaries of The Opportunity Fund. "I am pleased that the three major capital projects undertaken by the university with funds received through The Opportunity Fund were all student focused," he said. "In addition to the Field House, we also built the Smallwood Centre -- an excellent new student facility here in St. John's -- and the Student Centre Annex in Corner Brook."

"This is an appropriate time for me to thank all those people and organizations who supported us with The Opportunity Fund," said Memorial Chancellor Dr. John Crosbie, who was The Opportunity Fund's chairman. "This is a first-rate facility which not only contributes to student life on this campus, but is an excellent community resource as well. The donors and volunteers who helped make our fundraising campaign a success should know that their efforts will provide benefits beyond the university campus."

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