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Wits University begins construction on R250-million sports complex



Wits University, one of the top universities in South Africa, has recently announced the development of a brand-new sports complex. The Wits Brian and Dorothy Zylstra Sports Complex is set to cost a whopping R250 million and will feature state-of-the-art sports science training, research, and clinical practice facilities as reported by IOL. This flagship Wits Centenary Project will comprise of the Zylstra Sport and Health Building, the Zylstra Aquatics and Rowing Centre, and a Zylstra Residence that will house 44 elite athletes.

The Skye Foundation and the Zylstra family have made a significant legacy investment of R250 million to fund the construction of the sports complex. The Zylstra family’s donation is one of the largest family contributions made to Wits, and naming the complex after Brian and Dorothy Zylstra serves as a fitting tribute to the couple, who were both Wits alumni.

The future home of Wits Sport and Health (WiSH) will be the Zylstra Sport and Health Building. The facility will be under the auspices of the School of Therapeutic Sciences in the Faculty of Health Sciences and will provide students with access to world-class sports facilities. It will also serve as a hub for sporting events at the university and national level.

Aside from providing exceptional sports facilities for students, the Wits Brian and Dorothy Zylstra Sports Complex will help to develop cross-disciplinary training and research areas in various aspects of sport, sport physiology, sport injuries, and exercise and movement in rehabilitation. The sports complex will also be a resource for Wits and schools and sporting organizations from South Africa and abroad.

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Phil Zylstra, a spokesperson for the Zylstra family, expressed that the sports complex would be a landmark building and a resource for Wits and schools and sporting organizations from South Africa and abroad.

Jon Patricios, Professor of Sport and Exercise Medicine at Wits and Director of Wits Sport and Health (WiSH), stated, “This one-of-a-kind sports complex will usher in an exciting future for the next 100 years of Wits Sport and Health, servicing our greater Wits community through dynamic teaching, research, high-performance training, and clinical practice.” He added that the Wits Brian and Dorothy Zylstra Sports Complex would enable the university to host inter-university, inter-school, and national tournaments, bringing together athletes nationwide and promoting sportsmanship and healthy competition.

Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, Wits Vice-Chancellor and Principal expressed his gratitude to the Zylstra family and the Skye Foundation for their generosity and ongoing support of the university. He expressed his confidence that this Wits Sports Complex will catalyse student growth and development – not just as athletes but as individuals.

The construction of the Wits Brian and Dorothy Zylstra Sports Complex is expected to be completed by 2025, and it will provide world-class sports facilities for students, researchers, and athletes.

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Photo: Facebook / @Wits – University of the Witwatersrand

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