Archive for May, 2014



William Griffin Recreation Centre in North Vancouver moving forward

The design of the new William Griffin Recreation Centre, in North Vancouver, continues to earn strong support from council members and the local community. At a recent development permit reading, the District of North Vancouver council voted unanimously in support of the project’s design and direction.

The CEI-designed facility will include a 25-metre lap pool, leisure swimming pool, gymnasium, weight room, and seniors’ and preschool spaces. The facility is expected to open in 2016.

Among the most striking features of the design are exposed, two-storey structural glulam columns that form the main circulation spine, starting from a spacious main lobby and public entry area.

The new weight room and fitness will be full of light, with a two-storey south-facing window facing onto William Griffin Field and a trail system beyond.

According to an article in the North Shore News, Councilor Alan Nixon praised the project, saying, “I think the architects, from what I can see… have done an exceptional job in creating a building we’ll all be very, very proud of.”

Mayor Richard Walton agreed, saying, “I can’t wait to get this beautiful building opened.”



CEI selected to lead community consultation for replacement of Quesnel ice arena

CEI was recently selected by the City of Quesnel and the Cariboo Regional District to provide design consultant services for the first phase of the North Cariboo Arena Replacement Project in Quesnel, B.C.

The City and District are planning to replace the current spectator arena in the Quesnel and District Twin Arenas facility with a new 1600-seat spectator arena. CEI is leading the first phase of the process, which includes a community consultation, concept design and preparation for a public referendum on the project.

CEI was selected in part due to our extensive experience leading community consultations and presentations, and designing ice sports and other recreation and community centres throughout Western Canada and in Atlantic Canada. Our experience includes the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex, Cowichan Lake Sports Arena and the Nanaimo Ice Centre.

We were recently selected by the Town of Sylvan Lake, Alberta, to lead their arena redevelopment project.

Stay tuned for more on this project.



CEI Architecture wins design of Sylvan Lake Multiplex redevelopment project in Alberta

CEI Architecture has been selected as the prime consultant and architect for the Sylvan Lake Multiplex redevelopment project in Sylvan Lake, Alberta, located 25 km west of Red Deer and 170 km north of Calgary.

The $18 million redevelopment is planned to include a new hockey rink, five-sheet curling rink, four-lane running track, seniors centre, multi-use spaces, and more. The new facility will be tied into the existing Sylvan Lake Multiplex, which has a hockey rink with seating capacity for over 1000, and aquatics centre. The roof of the Multiplex collapsed in January 2014 after heavy snow accumulation.

“We’re thrilled to be working with the Town of Sylvan Lake on this recreation project,” said Mark Hentze, partner and leader of CEI’s recreation and community design practice. It’s going to be a great addition to Sylvan Lake, providing additional hockey, skating, curling and other facilities to the whole community,” Hentze added. “From kids to seniors, everyone will benefit.”

“We know that ice sports are important to the community of Sylvan Lake, and we’re happy to contribute our expertise.”

Sylvan Lake was recently named Kraft Hockeyville by the NHL, beating out seven other communities in Western Canada in the public voting stage. The prize comes with $100,000 for arena upgrades, which will go toward this project. The redeveloped facility will host an NHL pre-season exhibition game between the Calgary Flames and Phoenix Coyotes.

CEI’s portfolio of recreation facility projects across Canada continues to expand. We recently completed the Southlands Community Centre and are working on the Wedgewood Park Recreation Centre. Both facilities are in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and designed in collaboration with Ron Fougere Associates.



New life for old spectator arenas

A number of Canadian cities are looking at replacing their older spectator arenas. Fort McMurray, Moncton, Thunder Bay and Sudbury are all considering building new facilities, and as often happens in this situation, the question has come up: What should they do with their older venues?

Thunder Bay and Moncton each engaged CEI and PricewaterhouseCoopers to help them deal with this question and, while the process is not fully complete, the results are both surprising and exciting.

When repurposing a spectator facility, one needs to acknowledge that the main value of the facility comes from the amount of floor space underneath its span. The flat-floor space may be the size of an ice surface—with the rest of the area taken up by seating—or it can be two to three times larger, if the seating is removed.

The Fort William Gardens in Thunder Bay was built in 1950, with around 5,000 seats. The Gardens is connected to the Fort William Curling Club, and the facilities share the same refrigeration system. The facility is not far from the city’s southern business district, but the value of the land does not justify demolishing the facility for redevelopment.

Through a community workshop and subsequent open house, CEI developed consensus around a few key objectives the public wanted to see in a repurposed facility:

  • Repurposing the Gardens to support community recreation and leisure needs
  • Removing permanent seating and providing flexible or removable seating
  • Reducing the extent to which the facility is subsidized by the City.

The workshop included an opportunity for participants to express their opinions about what they wanted to see.

Ft William Gardens-Statements

The final recommendation included removal of all fixed seating in the facility, and the addition of an elevated walking track and fitness station, and a highly robust sports flooring system that would accommodate street traffic for trade shows, farmer’s markets, and other assembly activity. First and foremost, however, was the need to dedicate the 40,000 sq ft of flat floor area to community recreation and leisure programs.

Ft William Gardens-Recommendations

The existing Moncton Coliseum Complex contains both the 6,500-seat Coliseum, and the 75,000 sq ft Agrena trade show facility. Developing their new Downtown Centre will move spectator-oriented events from the Coliseum, but not the trade show activity. Repurposing a vacated Coliseum is as much about reinforcing the business plan of the Agrena as it is about supporting community-oriented programming.

CEI based the repurposing of the Coliseum on a model developed for the Regina Exhibition Grounds, which sees a six-pad arena and large indoor soccer facility support major trade show activity on an opportunistic basis. In this model, the recreation components are primarily used for community programs and only occasionally for flat floor events and shows. Scheduling is critical but ultimately it is a win-win from both business and recreation programming perspectives.


The final recommendation for the Moncton Coliseum will be to remove all of the fixed seating and provide large-scale open recreational space at the event level (the original ice level), as well as smaller, open-area recreation spaces on the mezzanine level. Unlike the repurposing of the Fort William Gardens into a multi-purpose recreation facility, the Moncton project creates a city-wide recreation hub and supports the business plan for the Agrena, making it Atlantic Canada’s premier destination for large trade show events and activities.



CEI’s Mark Hentze in panel discussion at 2014 AIBC conference

Mark Hentze, CEI Architecture’s director of recreation, community and culture projects, was invited to participate in a panel discussion at the AIBC Annual Conference taking place in October, 2014, in Vancouver.

The topic of the discussion is “building community through architecture.” The panel will focus on community centres, pool and recreation facilities, and their impact on new and established communities and neighbourhoods. The talk will be moderated by Anne Mooi, director of parks and recreation for West Vancouver.