The Dryden Observer

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Engineers discuss arena renovation project

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.

There may not be the money to do it yet, but this week city council and the public got a closer look than ever before at what architects and design engineers have in the plans for The Dryden Recreation Complex.
City council entertained an hour-long delegation, Sept. 14, to examine three phases of the project that would bring about significant changes to energy efficiency and the way users will interact with the facility.
Consulting engineer, John Lorenowich of Thunder Bay’s JML Engineering says phases one and two will seek to address the building’s primary deficiencies, specifically a lack of changerooms and storage space in arena operations.
While existing changerooms between the two arenas are to be gutted and enlarged, an additional four changerooms and public washrooms would be part of a $1.9 million 10 metre addition to the north side of Arena 2. Lorenowich says that the construction timelime would ensure the new changerooms were in place before any work would begin on the older ones in an effort to avoid disruption to the facility’s day-to-day operations.
Lorenowich, who has previous experience working with the building, addressed questions from councillors regarding the $8 million project’s ability to extend the lifespan of the already 35 year-old building.
“I think you have a sound building,” said Lorenowich. “I did the last structural inspection here three or four years ago and only found minor deficiencies. It’s a 30 or 40 year-old building, but there’s no reason why it can’t carry on for another 50 years with ongoing maintenance.”
A new central heating plant would be placed in the basement of the building that houses the swimming pool and provide efficient radiant in-floor heating throughout. Other mechanical upgrades include enhanced ventilation and water conservation features.
Phase three, which involves the addition of a second storey over the current arena lobby area will be the most expensive and also the most transformative aspect of the renovation plan.
With a price tag of $3.3 million, the second storey space will jut out some seven metres beyond the building’s ground floor footprint, a cantilevered design walled in glass panels to make use of natural light.
The second storey addition will house an upper arena lobby, an expansive cardio room for the fitness centre, offices and meeting rooms.
“We’re trying to go with an open concept,” said Lorenowich. “The exterior wall will be primarily glazing and be cantilevered over the entranceway. It’ll give it a real modern and open appeal. With the proper lighting it’s just going to add to theme or mood of the second floor.”

By Chris Marchand

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