Everything still on track as progress continues on ATB Centre-Phase 2

By Aaron Mahoney (@Mahones93 on Twitter)
January 10, 2018 - 11:08am

LETHBRIDGE - Work on the ATB Centre-Phase 2 continues to roll along, with the target of opening the community facility in April of 2019 still on track according to those involved.

The City of Lethbridge recently released a sneak peak video to give residents in inside look of where things stand right now:

In September, City Council approved a long-term agreement with the local YMCA to operate ATB Centre-Phase 2 when it opens.

The Cor Van Raay YMCA at the ATB Centre will be named after local philanthropist, Cor Van Raay, following his gift of $3.75 million to support the operations of the facility.

Despite some turbulent weather lately, Project Manager Ashley Matthews says they've been very fortunate because the weather has cooperated to a point where most of the construction is now inside.

"So, the building is closed right in which means we're still on target to open in April of 2019. The other good news is because we haven't had any surprises or major cost items that have popped up, we're on budget right now too. On time and on budget, that's good news," Matthews stated.

The YMCA will provide scheduled and drop-in programming for all Phase 2 elements, and the initial term of the agreement is for 40 years and nine months beginning on April 1, 2019. It also includes a provision for two additional 15-year extensions.

Under the financial terms of the agreement, the City of Lethbridge will provide initial operating support during the first four years while the YMCA will contribute $2.55 million toward capital and equipment costs.

The Lethbridge YMCA Board of Directors approved the agreement earlier this month.

Councillor Rob Miyashiro, who chairs the ATB Centre Project Steering Committee, says they're extremely pleased to have the YMCA on board as an operating partner for the new leisure facility.

"This agreement is built on trust, respect and a mutual commitment to meeting the needs of our community," Miyashiro added.

The 256,000-square-foot facility will have a variety of facilities under one roof, according to Matthews.

"We have aquatics, we have fitness, we have gymnasiums and a track, as well as a child care centre," he continued. "There's a variety of different amenities that will really service the entire community."

More than construction, Matthews also added it was the design of the facility that was difficult due to having to plan for all those things.

"When you're designing the facility, you must be careful and cautious because you have to be sure all of the amenities connect so they will work the right way. We've had a variety of different sub consultants who specialize in the various areas, aquatics being one of them, who have helped us through the whole process," Matthews said.

While the weather has cooperated for the most part, Matthews also conceded that their biggest problem to date was the strong winds from a while ago.

"Some of the outside work on the building itself has not been completed because of the winds, and then of course the cold weather came along. There's plenty of work to be done inside, and the crew in the building is up to 150 men working at any one time," Matthews said, adding that construction is coming along very, very well."

Operating support from the City will decrease annually over the first four years of the agreement as the facility moves toward increased cost recovery.

In 2019, it will start at $2.19 million, then decrease to $1.39 million in 2020, $843,000 in 2021 and $286,000 in 2022.

The YMCA's contribution includes $1.55 million toward fitness equipment, $750,000 toward capital costs and $250,000 for a freestanding outdoor event sign.

CEO of the Cor Van Raay YMCA, Jennifer Petracek-Kolb, says they deeply appreciate the relationship they've had the opportunity to build with the City working toward the finalization of this agreement.

"Additionally, we're thrilled to be able to further our impact in Lethbridge and to continue to build a healthier community with the opening of this leisure facility in 2019," Petracek-Kolb said.

Matthews says right now they're working with the YMCA on what they call the Readiness Committee, which is all about getting prepared for 2019.

"It's important to stay on top of things, to make sure everything inside the facility will be good to go by opening day. The biggest challenge is going to be moving all of the equipment in and getting everything set up and working properly. Then the next thing will be training staff because we know the first day the facility is open to the public going to be one busy day. Staff will have to be ready for a full onslaught of community people coming in to use it," Matthews said.

Matthews sits as chair of the Readiness Committee, and says his role is coordinate between city staff and the YMCA to make sure that all the necessary work gets done.

"We're talking about the people who do all the heavy lifting, ensuring the work is prepared and ensuring everyone involved is prepared heading into the grand opening as well," he continued.

"Stuart Olson, our general contractor, have been excellent in terms of making sure everyone is on the same page. They and their sub-consultants all understand exactly what needs to happen as far as the blueprints are concerned, and that's helped us stay on the right track."

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