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Arena project almost on schedule

Almost one year after the official sod-turning ceremony, work on Estevan's new arena and events centre is continuing along at a brisk pace.

Almost one year after the official sod-turning ceremony, work on Estevan's new arena and events centre is continuing along at a brisk pace.

In an interview with The Mercury Monday, City manager Jim Puffalt said the arena committee was recently informed that the project is approximately one week behind schedule.

"The construction manager has said that they are within a week of the schedule," said Puffalt. "But once you get past winter, the progress picks up and even over the past month or so they said there has been an incredible amount of work done. Even in touring (the construction site) just a month apart, I was like wow."

Puffalt noted that crews have been busy installing the cladding on the building over the past few weeks and have also been at work on the roof. Inside the building, crews have been constructing the dressing rooms and the mechanical system.

"They are looking to start the lobby approach within the next week or so. The masonry work for the dressing rooms is all done and two sections of the seating is in place - the hollow core where the seats will sit on."

Puffalt said work on the new arts and crafts room, which is located in the forecourt area of the Souris Valley Aquatic and Leisure Centre, is also going well. The new facility was needed after the arena committee decided it made more sense to place offices in the current arts and crafts room instead of the hallway of the leisure centre.

"With the way the new arena is situated, first of all it would have taken all of the natural light away from the arts and crafts room which is a key part of what they do," Puffalt said.

"Also, we were going to have to mesh three or four separate uses into the main lobby which wasn't going to work that well. So a better concept, we thought, was to build a brand new room for arts and crafts - because it is not just an arena it is an events centre and a cultural centre - and give them a brand new space which is probably more useful than the one they have with nice natural light and a new office for the (Estevan Arts Council)."

Although timelines often change over the course of a long project, Puffalt said the goal is to have the keys to the facility turned over to the City by the end of November which would give them one month to learn the ins and outs of the arena and get it ready for a January opening.

"That month is mainly for the ice," he said. "We want to make sure we know how to build ice in there properly and maintain it. We want people to be able to come into the facility for the first time and say 'wow, this ice is incredible.'"

Puffalt was also happy to note that just $300,000 of the arena's $1 million contingency has been used thus far. The contingency was set aside to pay for any changes or additions that may happen as the project progresses.

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