EDMONTON -- The City of Edmonton is opening the Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre Thursday night to shelter homeless people as the deep freeze begins.

On Tuesday, the city announced it would open the rec centre as opposed to LRT stations this winter.

Officials said the building was a better alternative to LRT stations because it's heated and has bathrooms.

City to use Commonwealth Rec Centre if needed during extreme cold weather

In a release, the city said change rooms next to the fieldhouse would accommodate up to 36 people between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. The fieldhouse will be opened if needed, the city added.

The decision to open the Commonwealth Rec Centre was made in consultation with Homeward Trust after reviewing temperatures and capacity at other shelters.

The Boyle Street Winter Warming bus will take people who need shelter to Commonwealth Rec Centre between 9 and 11 p.m.

The Edmonton Transit System will have a dedicated bus between shelters and the rec centre from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m.