CANMORE – Almost a decade in the making, the renovated Canmore Recreation Centre is nearing completion.
The $12.9 million project has already seen many of its improved spaces opened to the public, but will see the final construction end likely before 2020.
According to Town of Canmore manager of facilities Stephen Hanus, the roughly 103,000 square foot facility is the biggest in Canmore and has already been largely open to its users.
“We’re in the very near-completion stage of the project,” said Hanus. “We’re very excited to have the project somewhat open to the public, the majority of the spaces are available to the public for use right now.”
Both arenas, the gymnastic facility, a multi-purpose space in between the arenas, a walking lane, Town of Canmore administrative offices and two multi-purpose rooms on the main floor have all been completed and are open already.
“We are waiting for the one last multi-purpose room called the Peaks of Grassi gymnasium, the elevator, the referees room, the operations team office downstairs and the ticket booth area,” said Hanus.
“It’s imminent, it’ll likely be [completely open] before the new year.”
The upgraded facility includes a flex room for up to 13 athletes, increased dressing room sizes, re-location of public washrooms, replacement of the ice plant, a children’s play area and a meeting room on the first floor. The second floor has seen the addition of another multipurpose room with an increased capacity of up to 160 people and universal washrooms, as well as the addition of barrier free seating in the Alex Kaleta arena.
The Alex Kaleta arena officially opened on Oct. 5 with the local AJHL Canmore Eagles playing its first back-at-home game on Wednesday night (Oct. 23).
Hanus said the project, though complicated, has managed to stay within its budget. In May 2018, the Town of Canmore approved an increase of $2.1 million to the initial $10.8 million. The design of the project began in 2017 and took over a year to complete.
“Right now we’re working within our budget,” said Hanus.
“It’s a very complicated project so we understood that there’s a lot of unknowns when you do a major renovation on a building that was originally built in three different phases. There’s a lot of complications and it’s a long project to implement, so any number of things can happen at any time so we’re very pleased to be at this point in the project, and working within our budget.”
Hanus said there will be a one-year warranty and deficiency period following completion. He added the project has been on the horizon for almost a decade.
“Buildings after 30 years old need life-cycle maintenance and this was the time to do a major renovation of the building and also look at some optimization of the spaces and right-fitting the spaces for the new needs of the community,” he said.
When asked what the largest challenge of the renovation, Hanus said trying to keep it open during the construction was easily one of the most difficult aspects.
“We wanted to make sure that the building was operational during the entire construction phase – we wanted to minimize the amount of disturbance to the community and by doing so it adds significant complications to any project when you have many people of all ages in a building that’s heavily under construction,” said Hanus. “That was probably the largest complicating factor.”
In the meantime, you can visit the completed areas during its operational hours of 6:30 am to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Alternatively, the Town of Canmore’s website includes the detailed life-cycle plan.