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$18-million Meridian Exhibition Centre takes shape in Winkler, Man.

Myron Love
$18-million Meridian Exhibition Centre takes shape in Winkler, Man.
SUBMITTED IMAGE — Winkler councillors and officials recently joined other project stakeholders to turn the sod and celebrate the beginning of construction of the new 23,000 square foot Meridian Exhibition Centre in Manitoba.

After six years of planning, the new 23,000 square foot Meridian Exhibition Centre is well underway in the city of Winkler, Man.

The $18 million project will also provide Manitoba’s fastest-growing community with a second arena connected to the exhibition centre with an atrium.

In total, the expansion would have an 80,000-square-foot footprint, including a second-floor space that would include room for spectators, an indoor track and meeting rooms. The added parking lot would allow for 175 spaces and additional access to parking located on existing sites. 

Room onsite has also been specifically left to host the annual Harvest Festival on the grounds west of the new facility.

Scott Toews, City of Winkler director of planning and engineering, reports that the city chose to bring on a construction manager early in the design process to better define the constructability of the design.

“In order to realize potential cost savings,” Toews says, “we have tried to encourage local content using local skilled trades. Thus far, we have tendered the foundation concrete work, installation of the piles, structural steel frame and ice plant.”

He notes that WBS Construction is the overall project manager while Behlen Industries has been awarded the structural steel contract and Con-Pile Drilling is installing the poles.

“We will be tendering the remainder of the contracts over the next few months,” Toews says.

Construction of the project is estimated to take 16 to 18 months with a completion date in 2020.

With a larger facility, the city is hoping to attract major concerts, banquets and conventions that have passed over Southern Manitoba in the past.

The expanded exhibition centre will be able to accommodate up to 1,200 for banquet seating.

Currently, the city is footing of the bill for the project. Meridian paid $1.25 million for the overall naming rights of the facility. 

The hope is that grants may be available from the other two levels of government with many opportunities for corporate sponsor participation.

Winkler is located in the Pembina Valley in southwestern Manitoba. 

The city’s population, according to the 2016 census, was about 12,500, a growth of 18 per cent since the 2011 census.

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