Phase one of the Port Coquitlam Community Centre made it to the finals of the 2023 Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC) BC Region Awards of Excellence in Steel Construction in the Architecture category.
The owner of the project is the City of Port Coquitlam (PoCo); general contractor is Ventana Construction Corporation; and the steel fabricator is AI Industries.
Completed in fall 2021, the 205,000-square-foot complex is one of PoCo’s biggest capital projects.
“The new centre was a unique opportunity for PoCo,” said Glenn Mitzel, the city’s director of recreation. “It’s a flagship facility for the whole province.”
In addition to being really big, it’s all under one roof.
“It’s a one-stop facility that is typical of the new community centres you’ll find in Alberta,” said Mitzel.
The complex collects all the different services and facilities that used to be offered in several different buildings scattered around a community.
The PoCo Community Centre features The Terry Fox Library, Wilson Lounge, three ice arenas, an aquatic centre, commercial kitchen, two-level fitness centre, gymnasium, change rooms, community and outdoor space, a 425-stall below-grade parkade and the Terry Fox Hometown Square.
In 1980, with one leg amputated due to cancer, Terry Fox embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money for cancer research. He and his family lived in Port Coquitlam.
It also has multi-purpose rooms, a games room, outdoor courts, a playground and gardens.
“The complex has everything, including a hearing loop for the hard of hearing, so that centre announcements are transmitted directly to their hearing aids,” said Mitzel.
The centre was built in two phases to ensure user groups didn’t lose any ice-time. The first phase was constructed in three parts, beginning in August 2019.
Phase one involved the construction of a building that would house most of the facilities.
Phase 1B was completed in July 2019.
The library and ice operations were relocated to the new building and the original community centre was demolished.
Phase 1C, with the leisure pool and fitness centre, was completed in January 2020.
Phase two has a third sheet of ice, community and outdoor space, a gym, lounge and parkade. It was completed in June 2021.
Tallon O’Neill, Ventana Construction project manager, said his company tendered, procured and managed the work for both phases of the design-build project.
O’Neill said steel was the best structural material for the project.
“It wouldn’t have been sensible to use any other kind of material,” he said. “We had mass timber in the pool and long glulam members. But a mass timber structure would have cost more and would have been difficult to work with.”
On top of that, said O’Neill, PoCo wanted the inside of the complex to be visible to the outdoors.
“To do that, large glass windows were needed and using structural steel was the best way to provide wide open spaces and maintain height above the surface,” he said.
Ventana Construction hired AI Industries to supply and install the structural and miscellaneous steel in phase one.
“We fabricated the steel at our plant in Surrey,” said Karim Walji, one of the owners of AI Industries and project manager. “We also installed the steel and all the glulam in the pool and fitness centre.”
Walsi said the majority of the complex was steel-to-steel, which made the installation relatively seamless.
“The project was up for an architectural award because of the sheer amount of exposed structural steel in the centre,” he said.
The fine qualities of the Port Coquitlam Community Recreation Complex notwithstanding, the project was not one of the 2023 CISC winners.
The awards were given earlier this year at the Fairmont Waterfront hotel in Vancouver.
According to Walji, who is also chairman of the BC region of CISC, about 220 people attended the award ceremony.
Seattle’s 2+U (an office tower located at Second and University in downtown Seattle) won the Engineering Award and the inaugural Innovation and Sustainability Award.
The Deloitte Summit Tower in Vancouver won the Engineering Award and the Architectural Award.
Also taking home the Architectural Award was the Rainbow Park in downtown Vancouver.
David Lyman, president of Reliable Tube Inc., received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
High Point Park Condominium in Maple Ridge, B.C. won the inaugural Cold Form Steel Award.
“Because of the interruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2023 awards were the first that were held in several years,” said Walji. “Normally, the awards take place every two or three years. The next one is scheduled for 2025.”