Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Brockville council, public get first look at new multi-use recreational facility design

An artist’s rendering of the what the new facility will look like. – Submitted photo

At the Tuesday, May 21 meeting of the Brockville General Committee, Director of Operations Phil Wood provided an update on timelines and concepts for the multi-use recreational facility (MURF). 

City of Brockville operations staff, in partnership with the Arena Advisory Committee (AAC), have worked closely with engineers and architects from IDEA/N45 as the designer on the project. IDEA/N45 was the company that was awarded the tender in June of 2023, and since then has been consistently working away to bring this concept into a reality. 

Wood introduced the report by explaining that its intention “is to give the public their first look and council the most up-to-date information with regards to the proposed project as it relates to the progress of the detailed design.”

In August 2023, Wood came to council with the initial concept, which he said has “now blossomed into a detailed design.” Wood explained that a submitted 50 per cent design plan, which was hundreds of pages in length, was reviewed and approved by the committee and staff in March 2024. A summary of minor modifications was submitted to IDEA/N45 to make some small amendments before completing the 100 per cent detailed design.

“The next step is the 95 per cent detailed design, which is one more submission to say have we checked all the boxes as we go through the RFP,” Wood explained. “That is expected in June so we are very close in terms of design.”

Wood noted that those involved in planning and designing have steered away from completely modifying the existing structure due to cost-saving measures.

“The new facility stands independently of the existing facility,” he stated.

The plan view for the first floor of the building shows a transformation of the Memorial Centre into a twin-pad arena. It will have shared ice-making facilities, utilities and common spaces.

“There are some key details that make this exceptional and makes it very unique to Brockville, very suitable and appropriate to Brockville and I think the only regional barrier-free sports facility,” Wood shared. 

He explained that they plan to re-imagine the layout of the existing Memorial Centre lobby. He noted they will be keeping the pre-existing bathrooms, and the old entryway will become staff offices. The community hall as Brockvillians know it today will become two smaller community halls, a lobby that extends through both buildings, and a brand new canteen to sell food. There will also be a new serving window from the canteen that opens to the outside to serve patrons practicing sports outdoors. 

“We took advantage of space that wasn’t otherwise going to be used. We’ve consolidated our junior hockey teams into two rooms underneath the stands. We’ve taken the space where the old canteen was, which we don’t need anymore, and will dedicate this space to roughly 1,400 square feet that will serve the hockey clubs exclusively and free up the other side of the arena for six renovated dressing rooms that are twice as big as what we currently have,” detailed Wood.

The key feature of the “new build side” will be the eight new dressing rooms that are roughly 600 square feet.

“Gender fluidity, identity, and inclusivity are now a major part of sports,” Wood noted. “You have to be able to include everyone. When you have boys and girls playing on the same teams, there is a need to expand out to other dressing rooms and have a degree of privacy.” 

Wood referenced the recent privacy changes made by Hockey Canada, which has modified the way all hockey rink facilities will operate moving forward. He

“You have to have privacy, you have to have a certain amount of washrooms. What makes this facility unique to just about anything else we’ve seen is that there are four dressing rooms specifically designed to be barrier-free.”

For the sake of efficiency and saving energy, the plan details an “ice resurfacer corridor” which will allow one ice resurfacer to service both rinks. Although there are two ice surfacers currently at the Memorial Centre, it will be efficient to be able to have one machine and less staff needed on a daily basis.

To improve efficiency, there will also be an ice melting pit, which will use waste heat from the compressor system to melt ice into the sewer system. This is a better alternative to having to open the doors and “exchange atmospheres” to dump the ice outside. 

“It’s a tremendous advantage to get to contain the air that you effectively bought,” Wood noted.

When shifting the presentation toward the second-floor plans, Wood explained that “one of the interesting things about the new facility is we increased the footprint slightly. This is so we could move the community hall to the second floor to separate the arena activities from the community hall activities.” 

Visitors will have the ability to either come in through the main doors or come in through the side doors to take the staircase or the elevator directly to the second floor. Wood noted there will also be an exercise track on the second floor and the community hall can either function as part of the arena or as a separate component altogether depending on who is renting the space. 

The timeline for completion of the 100 per cent detailed project design is estimated to be 10 weeks. The projected timelines for completion of the design were provided as the following: 

  •  June 14, 2024 – Projected submission of a 95 per cent design
  •  June 28, 2024 – Projected completion of the review by staff  
  • July 19, 2024 – Projected submission of completed 100 per cent detailed design

In terms of financial expectations, Brockville City Council approved an initial capital budget of $1,200,000 in 2022. According to Wood’s report, “the current committed expenditures for design, modifications to the project scope, material and other testing, inspection, surveying and land assessment totals $1,118,010. Currently, staff project a $81,990 surplus variance in the MURF design project.”

IDEA/N45 has also suggested rectifying issues and reinstalling the solar panels that are currently installed at the Memorial Centre for an additional cost of $1.4 million. 

As it stands, Wood shared that the total dollar estimation for the project is over $41,000,000. He provided an infographic table breaking down the cost of each component and how it contributes to the total. The newly estimated cost in 2024 of the new build is $21,296,648 and the cost of the Memorial Centre renovation is $5,169,041.

Brockvilleist will continue to provide more information on this story as it becomes available. 

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