The bulk of the construction on Rod Brind’Amour Arena is complete and ice is expected to go in next month.
New dasher boards have been put up around the rink, new concrete has been poured and cured and construction crews finished installing the glass along the boards on Friday.
Lorne Parker, operations manager at Strathcona Gardens, said all that’s left to do now are the minor details, such as putting in specialized pieces of glass to fit into the small gaps around the corners.
“We’re just into the detailed stuff now,” Parker said.
“We have a couple of pieces of custom-made glass coming up next week. We’re hoping it’ll be finished next week and then we’ll just have clean-up and commissioning.”
Starting August 9, staff at the Gardens will begin the process of cooling the floor to make way for the ice. Because it’s brand-new concrete, it will take 10 days to completely cool.
After that, it will be another week starting August 19 to make the ice. That takes staff up to August 26, which is the targeted date for project completion and the date the first user group has the ice booked.
Parker said the $1.1 million project to upgrade Rod Brind’Amour Arena, which was built in the early 1970s, has gone fairly smoothly. The project has stayed on time and on budget.
“It’s been relatively smooth,” Parker said. “We haven’t had any major problems, which when you’re dealing with a 40-year-old building, sometimes you run into things, but this one’s been relatively smooth.”
Part of the reason for that was construction crews didn’t have to start from scratch.
As it turned out, the old concrete slab was salvageable, despite a large crack down the middle of the surface.
The new concrete was able to be poured directly over top of the original, saving time and money.
It also solved the crack which was putting stress on the brine lines (which cool the floor) underneath the concrete and eventually it would have split the brine lines and it would be impossible to make ice.
The repairs also provided the Strathcona Gardens staff with an opportunity to make the arena more accessible.
The floor is now flat from the south entrance all the way up to the staircase up to the bleachers and there is a ramp at the door
The floor had to be raised to match the new height of the playing surface, which was raised when the new concrete was poured over top of the old surface.
Another change is the dasher boards, which were shortened from 50 inches to 42 inches, to meet NHL (National Hockey League) regulations.
“They’ll (the players) probably notice a different reaction when shooting the puck off the boards,” Parker said. “These are made of metal and board. The other ones were all wood.
“It’s more of a standard arena (now) than a 1970s arena.”