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Ottawa family donation leads to refurbished floor at the Ben Avery Gym

Many a memorable moment have taken place on the floor of the Ben Avery Gym at Laurentian University since the school's opening more than fifty years ago - and that is a wonderful thing.

The fact that all of these moments have taken place on what is more or less the exact same flooring / sub-flooring system as the one that was installed in the early seventies is, however, not quite so wonderful.

Now, thanks to the generosity of an Ottawa couple, the storied old venue is going to enjoy a bit of a facelift.

The existing flooring and subfloor will be replaced this summer courtesy of a $250,000 donation from Danica Robertson and Robert Martin, parents of a current Laurentian student.

"We believe that Laurentian students are getting a high-quality education and the athletes on the court deserve a high-quality experience as well," said Martin in a school-issued release. "We have confidence in Laurentian and hope that our investment inspires others to support Laurentian University and help enhance the student experience."

The family donation will cover the cost of the removal of the current flooring and subfloor, down to the concrete, as well as the purchase and installation of a new high performance sprung hardwood floor that exceeds the top international standards for basketball floors.

Architects by trade, Robertson and Martin understand the impact of design and quality environments to foster human well-being and develop vibrant communities. "Our family saw an opportunity to support Laurentian and help improve the student experience for current and future generations," said Martin.

"This gift will have a positive impact on our campus culture as a whole," noted L.U. President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Lynn Wells, expressing gratitude for the donation. "It is a testament to the pride that the community has in our school."

"A high-quality facility will help entice students and student-athletes from across Canada to choose Laurentian," added Director - Voyageurs Athletics and Campus Recreation Peter Hellstrom.

"We hope that this impactful upgrade might inspire the continued revitalization of the storied Ben Avery facility."

Work on the gymnasium floor is already underway and is expected to be completed by the beginning of August.