‘Her­itage’ plaques will sur­vive arena ren­o­va­tion

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - CRAIG CAMP­BELL

Two com­mem­o­ra­tive stone plaques, rec­og­niz­ing con­struc­tion of J.L. Gright­mire Arena 66 years ago, will be re­moved and pre­served dur­ing de­mo­li­tion of the arena’s front sec­tion then re­in­stalled in the new fa­cade of a two-storey ad­di­tion to the ex­ist­ing ice sur­face.

Preser­va­tion of the “val­ued her­itage item” as well as care­ful re­moval of an elec­tronic sign, which will also be re­in­stalled, are in­cluded in a 1,000-page ten­der pack­age re­leased last week for a $7-mil­lion ren­o­va­tion of the arena.

The long-awaited project, which has stalled sev­eral times since it was first con­ceived more than five years ago, is ex­pected to be awarded to a con­trac­tor in Au­gust, with work sched­uled to start the same month. The dead­line for bids is Tues­day, July 18.

The ten­der states the project is to be com­pleted by Sept. 7, 2018. User groups, in­clud­ing Dun­das Mi­nor Hockey, Dun­das Blues and Dun­das Real McCoys, must re­lo­cate for 2017-18, but the ad­di­tion and ren­o­va­tion is planned to be done in time for the fol­low­ing sea­son.

Sev­eral changes have been made from the orig­i­nal ap­pli­ca­tion by the city’s recre­ation de­part­ment. The Jan­uary 2017 ap­pli­ca­tion stated the ad­di­tion would in­crease the max­i­mum ca­pac­ity of the arena from 1,400 to 1,550, in­creas­ing park­ing de­mand by 30 spa­ces. The ap­pli­ca­tion in­cluded a park­ing study that found the in­creased park­ing need could be ac­com­mo­dated by ex­ist­ing spa­ces within 500 me­tres of the arena. The ap­pli­ca­tion in­cluded adding six new park­ing spa­ces in the lot that not only serves the arena, but also the Dun­das Lit­tle The­atre next door and the Dun­das Com­mu­nity Pool.

Ac­cord­ing to the ten­der doc­u­ments, the project will not in­crease the to­tal ca­pac­ity, which will of­fi­cially re­main at 1,400.

The ten­der pro­poses a to­tal of 136 park­ing spa­ces, an in­crease of about 16 or 17 spa­ces over the ex­ist­ing park­ing lot. Robyn El­lis, man­ager of strate­gic plan­ning in the city’s fa­cil­i­ties man­age­ment de­part­ment, said there was early dis­cus­sion about in­creas­ing park­ing to a to­tal of 145 spots, but staff de­cided to in­te­grate a “pedes­trian walk­ing path” through the park­ing area.

How­ever, re­con­struc­tion and mod­i­fi­ca­tion of the park­ing lot is one of two pro­vi­sional items in the ten­der. Con­trac­tors are asked to sub­mit sep­a­rate in­di­vid­ual prices for the park­ing lot mod­i­fi­ca­tions, as well as re­place­ment of the ex­ist­ing stairs and bridge over the ice resur­facer ac­cess. The city re­serves the right to re­move one, or both, of the pro­vi­sional items from the project af­ter the ten­der is awarded.

Among the many de­tails of the project is de­mo­li­tion of the ex­ist­ing sin­gle-storey and base­ment at the west end of the build­ing, to­talling 31,292 square feet, and con­struc­tion of a new two-storey ad­di­tion with base­ment of 37,610 square feet. The ad­di­tion in­cludes an el­e­va­tor.

The base­ment will in­clude seven new change rooms. The ground floor will fea­ture a new en­trance, lobby, wash­rooms, of­fice space and con­ces­sions. The new sec­ond floor will in­clude ad­di­tional wash­rooms, stor­age, a multi-use room and sev­eral ar­eas to view the rink. Though not specif­i­cally men­tioned in the ten­der doc­u­ments, the sec­ond floor will also pro­vide a home for the Dun­das Sports Hall of Fame.

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