The newly-minted JBS Canada Centre officially held its grand opening over the weekend. Dignitaries spoke during a special ceremony on May 13, and free activities (including celebrity sports) were held to mark the occasion.
The physical building was the result of many years of development, and around two years of construction. Major additions to the existing structure include a new home for the Brooks Public Library (touted as the best in mid-sized cities across Alberta by Brooks Mayor Barry Morishita), a new fieldhouse with meeting rooms and an attractive mezzanine.
Bow River MP Martin Shields provided those in attendance with a history of the facility. He was mayor when the idea of expansion was first concieved. Mayor Barry Morishita was a Councilor at that time, and both men reflected on how exciting the development has been during their tenure.
The County of Newell was a major component to the project, contributing one million dollars. Reeve Molly Douglass expressed her joy at seeing the construction come to fruition, noting that seeing the new JBS Canada Centre sign "gave her shivers."
That million-dollar number was also what JBS Food Canada Inc. contributed for naming right of the facility. The company (Brooks' largest employer) has been a huge part of the building's success, and employees receive special rates.
The building has been open during construction, and even hosted events in the new facilities. The largest of these so far was the recent Brooks & District Chamber of Commerce's Trade Expo, which utilized both the fieldhouse and curling rink areas. It was a layout many area residents were accustomed to, as the previous trade shows had used the Centennial and Sparrow arenas at the Leisure Centre.
MLA Derek Fildebrandt noted how he likes to sing the praises of Brooks and area to his counterparts in Edmonton, and this facility is another fine bragging point for the area.
The next major sporting event that the JBS Canada Centre will be an integral part of is the Southern Alberta Summer Games in July. Registrations to participate in the Games are now open, and the organizing committee is still looking for volunteers.