BY RYAN WELLICOME
Renovations to the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex are running smoothly and on schedule for their summer 2017 completion.
According to the City of Lacombe’s Engineering Services Manager Jordan Thompson, the project is roughly 40% completed and the bulk of the project is to be finished by the end of this year.
“You’ll notice on the east side, especially, the new pre-cast concrete walls are up and so that work is progressing quite well,” he said.
Most of the work thus far on the project has involved preliminary tasks that will allow the new renovations to be done but other progress has been made.
“A lot of the work to date has been hazardous materials abatement and demolition, however, there are areas where they have been able to infill washrooms,” said Thompson.
“Also, a couple of the washrooms have been framed and are ready for drywall soon.”
The project has had some unexpected, yet interesting, speed bumps.
“In one area of the west side of the facility – where a new exit is going to go – there used to be an old gun range. When we were doing our demolition, we discovered the old steel plate that (would have been) behind the bullets so that took a little bit of effort to remove,” said Thompson.
Because the building was constructed in separate stages over the course of its life – originally the arenas were built, followed by the curling rink and subsequently the aquatic centre – construction has run into a few challenges.
Chief among those was finding and removing old concrete foundations.
“At one point the whole facility had burnt down and been rebuilt and we discovered all the old concrete slabs under the floor,” said Thompson.
“Finding those slowed the contractor down a little bit.”
Although these challenges were present, none have resulted in major delays, said Thompson.
The current focus of construction is on the new dressing rooms on the east side and the main lobby.
The dressing room additions and main lobby encompass the main portion of the project and are scheduled for a December completion.
“Because it is actually a fairly complex renovation, there’s a lot of moving parts inside the facility that will be ongoing right through to the end of December.”
According to Thompson, once the main portion of construction is complete in December, the project will be approximately 80% finished.
Renovations will then begin on the existing dressing rooms.
Recently, there have been road closures on 54th Ave. and adjacent streets near the sportsplex and Father Lacombe Catholic School.
The closures are due to the relocation of some of the school’s existing water and sanitary lines, located underneath the sportsplex’s current area of expansion.
A lease agreement that the City holds with the school states that the new lines will run underneath the bus lane – which will be excavated and rebuilt – and tie into the main under the street.
The facility has remained open to the public throughout construction with the exception of the east wing and the main lobby.
“It’s a very public project. It’s a very well-used facility and one of the goals we wanted to ensure we do is keeping the facility open and usable during construction,” said Thompson.
“We’ve gone through a fairly extensive effort to ensure that.”
Signage and maps have been posted within the sportsplex to help guide and direct its patrons.
Furthermore, there have been separate temporary exits created for the arenas, curling club and aquatic centre on the northwest, west and south portions of the building, respectively.
More information regarding the renovations – including a bi-weekly newsletter – can be found at www.lacombe.ca/recrenos.