Olympian Jeane Lassen speaks at the opening of the new weightlifting and exercise facility at F.H. Collins Secondary School on April 4 in Whitehorse. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

New weightlifting and exercise facility opens at F.H. Collins

The facility was part of the plan for the new F.H. Collins school, but wasn’t built at the time

The Yukon government held an official opening of the new weightlifting and exercise facility at F.H. Collins Secondary School in Whitehorse on April 4.

Minister of Education Tracy-Anne McPhee joined Olympian Jeane Lassen, staff of F.H. Collins and F.H. Collins School Council members at the opening.

The $1.3-million facility, built by Canyon City Construction, was part of the plan when the new F.H. Collins was under construction but not built at that time.

McPhee said that the new 246 square-metre building is a drastic improvement over the old weightlifting building at the school.

“When I arrived in this job, it had been left in that really sad blue building … and there were no plans to go forward, so our work began immediately to remedy that situation,” said McPhee. “I have been in that other building and I much prefer this one.”

Places like this, McPhee said, are key to the government’s new curriculum.

“Our goal is to implement and redesign a school curriculum … that encourages new personalized, flexible, hands-on learning opportunities for students and this is just such a place,” said McPhee. “To encourage these new opportunities, schools need more flexible spaces, new spaces and new tools.”

Lassen explained that the value of the new space goes beyond simply encouraging fitness in students.

“The weight room is much more than a place for F.H. Collins students of the present and future to become faster, stronger and more agile,” said Lassen. “It is also a place to connect with others and hopefully soon named the Jamie Shaw Performance Centre.”

Lassen said that Shaw was able to make students feel comfortable and that his passion helped get the project underway and also encouraged students to excel, and that the facility should be named in his honour.

A release from the government explained that the existing fitness room at the school will continue to be available and that the new facility will be geared towards students interested in “sports programming, physical development, and health and well-being” largely through F.H.’s sports school program.

The sports school programs focuses on teaching students movement skills, physical development and injury prevention.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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