The city of Steinbach, one of Manitoba’s fastest growing communities, has started construction of a new and long-awaited event centre that will be available for ice sports, concerts, trade shows and other events.
Construction started on the project at the end of January. Verne Reimer Architecture Inc. provided the design while the builder is Graham Construction.
Steinbach is a city of around 18,000 located in southeastern Manitoba, about an hour’s drive from Winnipeg.
The Southeast Event Centre is being built on the site of the current Centennial rink, a 56-year-old ice complex in downtown Steinbach, which is slated to be torn down during the summer.
The downtown location is in line with the city’s official community plan, maintains downtown as a dynamic public space, and realizes significant construction benefits from existing infrastructure and services.
The new facility will feature one indoor ice surface, which will be able to convert to a concert and event venue capable of holding up to 4,000 people, a multi-use hall where basketball, volleyball and pickleball can be played and that can also be converted into a 500-seat banquet hall. As well, the new building will have a walking track and an atrium used as a public gathering space.
The project’s budget was set at just under $66.2 million with funding from all three levels of government.
“One of our challenges,” says Paul Penner, operations manager at the City of Steinbach, ”is that the lowest tender for construction came in at more than $75-million and now we are trying to get within budget.”
Among the measures that are being considered in order to cut costs, Penner points out, is substituting some of the construction materials and mechanical systems for less expensive alternatives.
Another consideration that he identifies is being able to ensure that the ice sheets in both the current Centennial rink and the adjoining T.G. Smith Arena will be available for use until the end of the season and modifying ice plant and Zamboni access during the 2023-2024 winter season when only the TG Smith Arena would be available.
Concurrently with construction, Penner adds, the city will be building a temporary shed for the Zamboni machine so that it won’t have to be driven through the construction zone.
Penner further notes several trees will have to be cut down to accommodate construction of the new facility.
“What we are doing,” he says, “is taking the trees to a sawmill, having them planed and using the planks as boarders for our new outdoor rink.”
The project is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2024.
The Event Centre will be operated by the Southeast Events Group, a non-profit group of private citizens who are also involved in fundraising for the venture.