Fieldhouse construction may be delayed
Foothills: Regional facility slated to open in March 2014
By: John Barlow
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 01:58 pm
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, almost literally, as representatives from local municipalities and user groups were given a tour of the cavernous Foothills-Okotoks Regional Field house.I’d do a newsier lede about another possibility of delay. It can still be positive by saying the elected people are excited it could open more than six months later than expected J
The field house, located just west of Aldersyde of Highway 7, is a $21 million joint project with the MD of Foothills and the Town of Okotoks. The facility will include four sports fields, a running track, multi-purpose space and meeting rooms.
A massive undertaking which began about a year ago, the field house is slated to open in March 2014, but the demand on trades as a result of the June floods in southern Alberta may threaten the construction schedule.
Kent O’Connor, project manager for Scott Builders Inc., said during the tour they are doing everything they can to secure their trades and ensure the project remains on schedule.
“We could have a little trouble with manpower because of the flood and crews leaving for more lucrative jobs,” said O’Connor. “We have a good relationship with our trades and we are hanging on to our manpower. We are looking at every option and pushing hard to deal with things as they arise.
“We are remaining optimistic we will be open March 1.”
Foothills MD Reeve Larry Spilak said he is not concerned the project will be delayed.
“From all the construction reports we have had they indicate everything is on schedule,” said Spilak. “We are looking to open when we planned Is the project on budget?are excited it could open more than six months later than expected :)ll. lgary Herald Learning Centre. Dacana .”
Initially, the field house was supposed to be open this fall, but when the steel frame of the facility collapsed earlier this year it delayed the project more than three months.
For Spilak, he said the tour of the facility in September made him all the more excited to the facility complete. He said with the structure up he is receiving more and more inquiries from potential user groups interested in accessing the facility.
“Now that we are starting to see more and more get done and the closer we get toWhat do the user groups say? They’ve missed this indoor season. completion the more I see this is going to be a busy facility,” he said. “We have inquiries from everything from badminton and tennis to BMX… from all over. This is going to be a great facility — it is going to be incredible.”
Okotoks Mayor Bill Robertson, who made the field house a priority last election, said he too is eager to have the facility opened and to the facility well on its way towards completion is a welcome sight.
“It is extremely gratifying,” said Robertson. “Kids of all ages will use this facility and every person who goes into the facility is another person who will take ownership.”
The mayor said people are also starting to understand the field house is not just for soccer. There are four fields at the building, three with artificial turf and another with a hard court. The artificial turf fields will be used mainly for indoor soccer and lacrosse, but the court will be utilized by a variety of sports such as floor hockey, badminton, basketball and volleyball.
For major tournaments temporary flooring can be placed on the turf to expand the courts.
In addition, Robertson said the project is not just for sports as it could be utilized for a variety of events including trade shows, car shows and conferences.
Also, there is an additional 43 acres surrounding the field house some of which will be used for outdoor sports fields and possible expansion of the building in the future.
During the tour the Okotoks Rotary Club presented a cheque for $24,000 to the High Country Sports Facility Fundraising Society (HCSFFS), which is raising money to equipment the building.
Jay McFarlane of the Okotoks Rotary Pub Club said the group sees the benefit of the facility and they wanted to be involved. The money donated from the Rotary Club will help purchase score clocks for the fields.
“It is an impressive facility, more than we ever could have expected,” said McFarlane of the field house. “This is going to be a focal point and when we had an opportunity to be a part of it we wanted to make sure we were there right from the beginning.”
According to Carrie Fischer, vice-chair of the HCSFFS, the group has been asked to raise about $1 million to cover the cost of outfitting the field house. With the donation from Rotary the society has raised more than $200,000.