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Aging Smithville arena to be replaced with new $23.6-million multi-use community hub

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by Patricia Williams

With an eye to the future, the Township of West Lincoln in Ontario’s Niagara Region is building a multi-use recreation site (MURS) facility in Smithville, Ont.
A new multi-use complex in the Niagara Region community of Smithville, Ont. will combine an arena, public library and various recreational facilities under one roof. The $23.6-million project will replace the aging Smithville arena.
A new multi-use complex in the Niagara Region community of Smithville, Ont. will combine an arena, public library and various recreational facilities under one roof. The $23.6-million project will replace the aging Smithville arena. - Photo: BALL CONSTRUCTION/ARCHITECTURE49

The estimated $23.6-million project is being delivered on a design-build basis by the team of Ball Construction and Architecture49. The two firms have collaborated in the past on more than 15 such projects.

Mayor Doug Joyner said the township opted for such a delivery model because it was anxious to ensure the project is completed on time and within the stipulated budget.

"We didn't want to be on the hook for any cost overruns," he said.

The project is being financed through a combination of development charges, property taxes, reserves and fundraising.

Years in the making, the MURS will replace the aging Smithville Arena and Community Centre, which was built in 1973. That facility is expected to be demolished.

"Like every small rural community in Ontario and Canada, this type of project is a community hub," Joyner said, noting the township's population is expected to double by 2041.

"You have to provide the proper amenities to accommodate those folks."

The township's current population is an estimated 15,500.

The MURS project is being constructed at 177 West St., the site of the existing arena and community centre. Joyner said there are a number of deficiencies associated with that building.

"Some of the pipes in the ice pad are on their last legs," he said as an example. "We're living on borrowed time."

The facility is not environmentally friendly, he added, nor is an upstairs hall used for community activities accessible for all residents, given there is no elevator.

"That isn't cool if you are offering seniors programs," he said.

The MURS complex will include an NHL-size ice pad "which everyone is building today" as well as a 12,500-square-foot public library, indoor and outdoor walking tracks, a gym, playground, splash pad and a skateboard park.

The facility has been designed to be compliant with requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Rod Aitken, vice-president of preconstruction at Ball, said a number of green features are being incorporated in the 93,000-square-foot project.

The list includes a green wall, higher insulation values, low-flow plumbing fixtures, energy-efficient mechanical equipment and LED lighting.

While the building has been designed in accordance with LEED Silver principles, certification will not actually be sought, said Aitken, a LEED Accredited Professional.

The project is being undertaken by a team that includes structural engineers WSP and mechanical and electrical engineers DEI & Associates Inc.

Subtrades include Rankin Construction, tasked with site work and parking lot construction, Harris Rebar, Reimar Forming & Construction (forming), Niagara Rigging & Erecting Co. Ltd. and ComSteel Building Solutions Inc. (pre-engineered metal building).

Other trades are Stubbe's (precast concrete), Dordan Mechanical Inc./Group 92 Mechanical Inc., Roberts Onsite (electrical), Westmount Storefront Systems (glazing), C & H Fire Protection and CIMCO Refrigeration.

Foundation construction is now underway on the site.

Aitken, whose firm is also constructing the $32-million Pelham Community Centre in nearby East Fonthill, said the major challenge on the West Lincoln project is the tight schedule.

The public library has to be completed by July 2018, while the arena and gym are to be completed by December of next year.

Ground was officially broken in mid-September on the project, which is expected to revitalize the former Smithville Fairgrounds site.

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