By Kristen Shane
The Davidson Centre should look like a “totally new” building in 15 months, as long as all the groups involved in its new addition stick to the tight timeline set out for them.
Kincardine council and the public got their first look at the new addition’s designs last Wednesday when the project’s architect, Jim Strasman of Strasman Architects Inc. of Toronto, visited the municipal administration centre.
About 25 people looked at blown-up colour drawings and artist’s renditions of the proposed new gym, warm viewing area and dressing rooms during an afternoon open house.
“They were generally very positive,” said Karen Kieffer, Kincardine’s recreation director, afterward.
One of the few sore points she heard about the original plan was its lack of handicapped parking close to the building’s new entrance.
“The building isn’t built, so we can do that,” Strasman later told council.
“We are moving the handicapped parking immediately next to the entrance to the south of the arena,” he said.
The Davidson Centre now has about 200 parking spots. That will rise to about 280 (handicapped and not) with the new addition. The addition itself will be on the east side, with the new gym running parallel to the existing ice pad. A roundabout beside the building’s entrance will shepherd drivers around a drop-off/pick-up point and into the parking lot. The main doors will move slightly from where they are now on the eastern wall to the building’s southern side.
Inside the building, the gym will feature a college-sized basketball court that can be transformed into three volleyball or badminton courts. Eight basketball nets will hang along the walls. Fixed bleachers will allow space for 155 people to watch gym activities. There will be room for fold-out bleachers to seat 170 more.
Above the gym floor, Bruce Power has donated $175,000 to install a four-lap-to-the-quarter-mile running and walking track.
Spectators can keep an eye on activities in both the gym and ice rink from windows in the second-level warm viewing area. It will include bench seating for 65 people or standing space for 280.
A rendering of what the Davidson Centre's new addition could look like in the not-so-distant future. (courtesy Strasman Architects)
Below it will be a series of arena and gym change rooms, minor hockey, Bulldogs and figure skating storage rooms, an activity room, injury management room and a coach’s room. Rounding off the addition are new public washrooms on the second floor and two two-storey storage rooms on the north and south sides of the gym.
“And something as simple as a coat of paint on that, tying into your new fitness facility, is going to make this facility look as if it was a totally new building,” Strasman told council.
While the dressing and activity rooms are to be heated by hot water, two rooftop units will warm the gym. Heat recovery units are also slated to be installed to trap and blow excess hot air back into the building.
“This is a huge energy conservation technique,” said Strasman.
As are the windows on three sides of the second-storey.
“You’ll find that on the bright days, you will not need any bright lights on,” he said.
The Municipality may save money in some areas, but it’s still on the hook for $1 million of the $3.055 million addition. The federal and provincial governments are chipping in the same. Kincardine Minor Hockey and Crabby Joe’s Tap and Grill in Kincardine are giving $50,000 and $8,000 respectively.
All that should cover the building costs. Then there’s a list of more than $1 million in extras such as folding bleachers, divider curtains, a scoreboard and two shot clocks, for which funds from the community must be raised before they can be installed.
“We probably won’t do them all,” said Kieffer, after the meeting. “For example, the parking and paving for $555,000 – that’s a bit out of our range.”
At the top of the list include $205,680 for storage and $103,000 for new washrooms and a renovated second-floor lounge.
“But if we can’t have that right away, we could do it in a Phase 2,” said Kieffer.
Now that the designs are public, the Davidson Centre revitalization committee is ramping up its fundraising efforts, she said.
Clock is ticking to 2011 deadline
Council members seemed generally pleased with the plans, but concerned that the clock is ticking away to a March 2011 funding deadline set by the provincial and federal governments.
The project is scheduled to be finished a month before that.
“(That’s a) short time frame,” said councillor Ron Hewitt.
“Well, we’re going to have it done,” said Mayor Larry Kraemer, matter-of-factly.
“I can tell you this is a simple building to build,” said Strasman. “We are starting in the ideal time of year. We will be utilizing steel as our main structure; we can get that steel on order very quickly. That building shell will go up in no time, absolutely no time.”
The last Davidson Centre addition was delayed when a steel supplier went bankrupt. Strasman said he hasn’t had any difficulty with getting steel recently.
There are always unknowns that could increase costs or cause delays. For instance, Strasman said he thought one or two construction-related unions are set for contract renewal talks in the spring.
“That could throw up a monkey wrench in things,” he said. So he said he hoped the project would involve non-union workers so as to avoid delays.
Strasman is using the open house feedback to tweak plans before he sends them back to the revitalization committee for final approval. The municipality will look for contractors in January and expects to have the first shovels in the ground in May.
While the building is under construction, Davidson Centre staff will try to keep it open for business, said Kieffer.