West Fraser Centre

Construction of the West Fraser Centre/North Cariboo Arena project is currently underway in Quesnel, with an estimated completion by September 1, 2017. VVI has been contracted to construct a new 1,400 seat spectator arena to replace the city’s existing main arena which has reached the end of its lifespan after 60 years. VVI’s contract also includes the demolition of the old arena which includes hazardous materials abatement and is to proceed once the new Arena is in place. The building’s current site is to be repurposed to become parking for the new arena as well as the adjacent secondary arena and curling rink.  The agreement to keep the existing arena in place until the new arena is complete allows for the city to ensure that they will be able to maintain two ice sheets, even through construction, which prevents any ice time shortages or issues for the local clubs and teams. The project is located in downtown Quesnel and, with the existing arena remaining in place, available space for construction and staging is very limited. VVI has been required to work collaboratively with the city to minimize disruption to the public while also ensuring there is adequate space to perform the work. To date, the arrangements have been highly effective and there have been minimal disruptions even through any high traffic weekends in the downtown core.

VVI was awarded the contract through a detailed multi-phase RFP process which included a number of pricing submissions, an interview and extensive value engineering to ensure that the project budget was not exceeded while still delivering a project to meet the expectations of the client. Costs saving suggestions were proposed by the consultants, VVI and the subcontractors to reduce the initial project budget by over $1,000,000.00. For work to be performed by VVI’s own forces we have been able to collaborate with a local contractor that we have worked with a number of times in the past which had allowed us to have a local concrete crew supplemented with some of VVI’s more experienced carpenters to act as lead hands. This has given VVI an opportunity to make use of the local resource pool and while providing a number of local trades people (both apprentices and ticketed carpenters) with valuable specialized experience working with formwork and shoring not typical to many jobs in Quesnel. VVI’s lead hands have been able to use their experience with concrete and forming to expedite the work while providing training to the local labour pool.

The Building itself is comprised of a concrete and steel structure. The foundations, shear walls, concourse, and stepped bleachers have been constructed using cast in place concrete with a steel superstructure supporting the exterior envelope and roof. The roof structure is comprised of curved steel girder trusses bearing on battered concrete columns. Wood components have been integrated into the design in the form of CLT panels for the main lobby roof structure, and a wood slat ceiling assembly in the main arena. The building exterior will be a combination of Kingspan Insulated metal panels, and block veneer with some glazing and composite metal cladding to provide architectural detail. As with all arenas, extensive mechanical, electrical and refrigeration components are included in the design.

Through the project VVI has worked closely with the city’s project manager, MKT Developments, to ensure that all scheduling and budgetary requirements are met. This includes providing updates through biweekly meetings with the client and consultants (Either on site or via teleconference) which allows for constant open communication through all stages of the of project between all parties. Detailed monthly reports are also prepared and issued to document project progress, schedule and budget updates, upcoming work and any construction issues. Extra attention has also been given to continued value engineering and the VVI team has worked to provide a number of cost savings suggestions even as the project progresses. An agreement has also been made to work with any local individuals or businesses who offer any cash or “in kind” donations. Due to the nature of the offers, VVI has addressed each one on a case by case basis, consulting with the city on any sponsorship or advertising requests that a donation may be contingent on. Though no donations have been fully formalized, there are a number that are currently and would reflect in a credit to the client in the construction contract.

The project currently remains on schedule and on budget, and VVI looks forward to delivering an exceptional product to the City and Regional District in time for the 2017 Winter Season.