A worker from Fraser Valley Refrigeration

Arena upgrades expected to be complete by summer

Construction on Rod Brind'Amour Arena is on time and on budget

It’s been smooth sailing so far for the staff at Strathcona Gardens who are working to have Rod Brind’Amour Arena back in action for late summer hockey programs.

The aging arena has been undergoing vital improvements since April 15.

Josie Rohne, Strathcona Gardens manager, said everything has been going according to plan.

“We’re on budget and on time,” Rohne said. “Maybe even a week ahead of schedule.”

“But don’t jinx it,” Lorne Parker, operations manager at Strathcona Gardens, quickly chimes in as he lightly knocks on his wooden desk.

The $1.1 million is expected to be complete Aug. 26 – the day the first renters are scheduled to use the new ice.

The dasher boards which circle the ice surface are slated to go in June 10 and will take a week to a week and a half to put up. After that, staff will begin to make the new ice – a process which will take 20 days.

“The floor has to be cooled slowly over 10 days in order to bring the floor to freezing,” Parker said. “The first time you put in ice it will be a long process.”

The concrete slab, which lies just beneath the ice and is used for lacrosse games, was poured over the last three weeks and is now finished, though it’s not completely cured yet.

The new concrete was poured over top of the old slab, which was salvageable despite a large crack down the middle of the concrete.

It was that crack that threatened the arena’s future.

“The floor was splitting down the middle and it was putting stress on the brine lines (which cool the floor),” Parker said. “Eventually it would split the brine lines and we wouldn’t have the ability to make ice.”

With the new slab over top of the old concrete, the ice surface will end up being raised by eight inches.

Because of that, the side entrances to the arena that open up into the side parking lot will also have to be raised.

That’s provided staff with the opportunity to put in a ramp at the entrance door to make the arena more accessible.

The floor that leads to the stair case up to the bleachers will also have to be raised to match the new height of the playing surface, which Strathcona Regional District staff chose to keep at the original 200 x 85 dimensions. Staff had considered cutting four inches off each side of the rink but instead chose to follow the original Request for Proposal guidelines.

Once the arena re-opens, visitors will also notice a new, live camera feed in the lobby outside Rod Brind’Amour Arena. The feed will allow guests to look in on what’s going on on rink two.

Parker said the TV will be useful to parents who have kids playing on both rinks at the same time.

The Rod Brind’Amour Arena project is being funded through the Strathcona Gardens service, a function of the Strathcona Regional District, as follows: $750,400 from 2013 revenue which includes $111,000 that was put aside for the project in 2012 but was unspent that year, plus $328,800 worth of debt that is being borrowed over five years.

The regional district applied for senior government grants to help with the cost of the project but none were approved.