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Velodrome work rolls ahead in Edmonton

Russell Hixson
Velodrome work rolls ahead in Edmonton
HMCA ARCHITECTS — A rendering shows the design of the Coronation Park Sports and Recreation Centre which will include high-performance cycling facilities and community recreation programming.

On your mark. Get set. Build.

Work has started on the $153-million Coronation Park Sports and Recreation Centre which includes a velodrome that will be able to host major international cycling events.

Architects with hcma noted the project presented a rare opportunity to design space for Edmonton’s already mature and established downtown area instead of a newer community on its outskirts. HCMA worked with Dub Architects and FaulknerBrowns Architects on the design.

“It was a strong priority from the city and the investment is not small,” said Michael Rivest, the project architect. “The city is always looking for opportunities for community centres and areas that add amenities. This is an inner-city site. Often new builds are on the outskirts, so this was a bit different and in a mature, established and historic park.”

While the facility will feature a competitive velodrome track, the city also wanted to integrate more recreational amenities for the community.

Michael Henderson, a partner at hcma, explained the team achieved this partly by raising the track off the ground.

“The track has to be continuous,” he said. “It’s a long track with a huge space in the middle which would typically be a void, but we saw an opportunity to capitalize on it.”

The team plans to put community-based programming in that void which will often be at the same level as the track.

Henderson noted hcma’s partnerships with Dub and FaulknerBrowns were crucial to the design. He explained that Dub, which is based in Edmonton, is a longtime collaborator of hcma and has been instrumental in assisting hcma’s efforts for the past decade.

“We wanted to work in Edmonton and need a local partner, so we looked for aligned values and complementary skill sets,” said Henderson. “We didn’t want it to be a one-time thing. And now that we have roots in Edmonton we still pursue work with them.”

For the specialized work of designing an internationally recognized velodrome track, the team enlisted the help of velodrome experts FaulknerBrowns who have completed many similar tracks.

“Their role was really bringing that subject matter expertise at the front end and shepherding us through some of the administrative components of dealing with the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) which is the cycling authority,” said Henderson, adding tracks must adhere to strict regulations in order to be used for official competitions.

The facility will also be a boon to athletes who want to push themselves during Alberta’s harsh winter months. The design includes an enclosed bridge to the nearby Peter Hemingway Fitness and Leisure Centre.

“That’s to allow for triathlons to occur year-round,” said Rivest. “The running track is just outside the cycling track and then there is continuous glazing on that track giving you views into the park as you run around the building. Edmonton is more and more changing the conversation about winter and how we embrace it.”

The project is of particular interest to Rivest, who lives nearby and is an avid cyclist.

“Of course you always take pride in a project like this but it’s exciting to know that in a five minute walk my family will be able to see this rise out of the ground,” he said. “I can’t wait to see the impact it has on the community.”

The project is scheduled for completion in 2026.  

The improvements to the Coronation Park Sports and Recreation Centre were funded in part by a Government of Alberta Community Facility Enhancement Program grant of $850,000 provided by Alberta Culture and Status of Women.

The Argyll Velodrome Association and World Triathlon Edmonton provided additional funding.


Follow the author on Twitter @RussellReports.

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