Moose Jaw Downtown Facility

After more than 10 years of feasibility investigations and discussions, the City of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan will soon have a new multipurpose hockey arena and curling facility; as well as a standalone soccer/field house facility. For the city of Moose Jaw, the multipurpose arena will serve as a benchmark for similar large capital investment projects in the future.

“At $61.3 million this is the biggest capital project the city has ever undertaken,” says Jody Hauta, director of parks and recreation for the city. “It certainly has been interesting, and it has involved a lot of work with the community. The project has been an interesting personal professional development experience.”

The hockey arena portion of the downtown facility will be a 4,500-seat spectator arena that will not only serve as home ice for the Moose Jaw Warriors Western Hockey League team, but will also host events like concerts and trade shows. The arena will have box level seating as well as 15 corporate boxes, administrative offices, and meeting room spaces. The downtown facility will also contain an eight-sheet curling facility, concessions, lounges, and dressing rooms. The downtown facility will occupy 110,000 square feet of usable space and 207,980 square feet overall.

This project includes a stand-alone soccer/field house at a separate site that will house a 60-by-100-meter artificial turf field that can be divided into four smaller fields to host smaller activities. The facility also will house a four-lane seamless rubber crumb walking track around the perimeter of the field. This occupies a 106,000 square-foot site. The construction price of both projects is $61.3 million dollars. After breaking ground on these structures in August 2009, Hauta says the downtown facility should be completed by summer 2011, and the soccer and field house should be completed by summer 2010. 

Discovering Design/Build

The city of Moose Jaw has not used the design/build method for any projects of this magnitude in its history, so Hauta and his team had a steep learning curve for the multipurpose arena project. Hauta says the city went through an exhaustive process to hire a design/builder before selecting Hockey Capital Moose Jaw Ltd. – a joint venture between contractor Ventana and architect MQN. 

During the search, Moose Jaw put out a formal request for qualifications followed by a request for proposals and looked at a number of qualifications and designs before settling on a builder. The three main categories of the evaluation criteria were the design; maintenance requirements/program functionality; and LEED/energy efficiency. The builder is seeking a LEED silver certification for the downtown facility. 

“Overall, the purpose of the evaluation is to get the most desirable balance [of] the design, quality and functionality,” Hauta says. “We wanted to get the best value for the dollar, which meant building something for the next 40 to 50 years.”

At this point, the project is on target to earn that LEED silver certification with a light-colored roof to reduce cooling needs, low-flow showerheads, building automation system that will control energy use based on usage, and bicycle racks to encourage environmentally friendly modes of transportation. 

The project has experienced its share of challenges during the course of construction. The site chosen for the facilities is surrounded by three private properties that the city of Moose Jaw did not purchase, so the site itself is tighter than normal. This forced the construction team to meticulously schedule the delivery of equipment and materials to utilize the minimal storage space available. 

The city of Moose Jaw also encountered numerous soil contamination issues on the site. On the advice of the job’s project manager, the city commissioned several environmental assessments to determine the amount of hazardous materials on site before breaking ground. This process unearthed a number of issues that would have slowed down progress on the schedule if they had not been discovered early. All regulatory authorities have reviewed and confirmed that contamination has been remediated to meet their requirements.

“We had buildings being demolished, surveys and geotechnical investigations being done,” Hauta says. “We wanted to minimize the risk that would happen during the construction process.”

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