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.



CEI’s Scott Chatterton chosen as Autodesk Expert Elite

CEI staff portraitsScott Chatterton, CEI’s BIM and quality control manager, has been named to the Autodesk Expert Elite program, recognizing his expertise and leadership with the technology over the past several years.

The Autodesk Expert Elite program was created to recognize users who have contributed a significant amount of time, knowledge, and assistance to the Autodesk customer support community. They look for people with a strong sense of leadership and an engaging style of collaboration. Scott is one of just 130 members, from 20 countries around the world.

As CEI’s BIM and quality control expert, Scott led the redevelopment of CEIQ, our quality control and project management procedures. He also contributes to many of our projects, helping coordinate the use of Revit among the entire design and construction team.

Congratulations Scott!



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CEIQ: Quality Control at CEI Architecture

CEI staff portraitsBy Scott Chatterton, BIM Manager

Over the past few months, CEI Architecture has been working on defining and implementing a comprehensive new quality control system, which we’re calling CEIQ: Quality Control and Project Management Procedures.

The precursor to CEIQ was a document and system outlining the firm’s Flow of Operations. It was solid, but changes in the industry and in our firm meant that an update was needed. The existing system and documentation didn’t go into a lot of detail regarding our BIM process, and several recent wins on major P3 projects—including the recent announcement that our team, Affinity Partnerships, is the preferred proponent for the BC Children’s and BC Women’s Hospital Acute Care Centre—meant that our quality control procedures have expanded.

As the BIM manager, I already had a number of existing documents and processes that I put in place, but I still found it difficult to share certain information and make everyone aware of its existence and apply it to their projects. We have some great content related to quality control, but it’s no good if people are not aware of it and aren’t putting into practice.

Getting input

Part of the process in the creation of the CEIQ Quality Control system included interviewing our staff, asking pertinent questions about existing processes and getting their thoughts on how we can improve our quality control and project management. We got great feedback!

There were a few themes that came up in most interviews, one of which was a desire to have a clear, comprehensive and fully approved project roadmap. People want guidance on the “how,” “where” and “what do I do next” on a project. Even though we already had these in the existing Flow of Operations, as time progressed our systems needed updating and we needed to re-instill a sense of accountability.

A living system

We consider CEIQ a living system, a set of guidelines, processes and beliefs that will evolve as the company and industry does. We expect it to be updated during the initial roll-out period, and to adapt to changes over time. Our goal with CEIQ is to improve efficiencies and create consistency in every aspect of our service and deliverables. The ultimate goal is to ensure that efficient systems are in place to free up the creative capacity of our talented designers, so they can focus on what they do best: creating spaces that work well for our clients and communities.

Better BIM management

CEIQ includes a section on BIM management, which we hope will give people working on a project clear guidance on their roles on projects that use Revit. One of the biggest challenges in implementing this type of structure in any business is getting buy-in—not only from the staff but from senior levels of an organization. Fortunately the leadership at CEI Architecture has been the driving force behind the initiative, which makes the adoption process much easier throughout the organization.

After we roll out CEIQ, I will periodically blog about sections of the process and explain the benefits of developing your own project management procedures.



Another TOMMIE Award winner for CEI!


CEI’s design of the Black Hills Wine Experience Centre, which was previously named a finalist for a 2013 Tommie Award in the Commercial/Retail category, has brought home the Gold this past week!

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association of the Central Okanagan honoured the Nick Bevanada-designed facility along with recipients in 41 other categories, including Home of the Year, the Fortis BC Award for Building Energy Efficiency, and Best Mixed-Use facility.

The Wine Experience Centre joins CEI’s previous TOMMIE Gold winning Elenko Residence project.

Congratulations to all the award winners!

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CEI’s BIM guru to speak at CCO Workshop

CEI’s Scott Chatteron will be presenting at the 14th Annual Consultant, Contractor and Owner Workshop, hosted by the Southern Interior Construction Association on February 6. The annual Kelowna event is an opportunity for individuals in the construction and procurement process to network, exchange ideas, and hear industry updates and best practices.

Scott will be speaking on utilizing new technologies, such as Building Information Models and “the Cloud,” for all phases of the construction process.

Registration for the event remains open at, and all participants are encouraged to attend Scott’s afternoon session, “Construction Tech: BIM, Smart Apps.”

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New William Griffin Recreation Centre presented to community

WG internet

A Public Information Meeting was held in the District of North Vancouver on January 22 to present and gather plans for the new William Griffin Community Recreation Centre to the community and gather feedback on the design.

The meeting was well attended, with 87 people present to hear what CEI Architecture’s Mark Hentze, Sid Johnson, and representatives from the District of North Vancouver and North Vancouver Recreation Commission (NVRC) had to share about the project.

Of particular interest to the community were the plans to rehabilitate the riparian zone to the west of the building, along Mosquito Creek. The building will also be targeting LEED Gold certification with a number of sustainability features.

The building, targeting LEED Gold, will include NVRC Administration offices; aquatics space including a 25 metre pool, leisure pool, whirlpool, sauna, steam room, and change rooms; program areas for seniors, youth, and preschool; community kitchen; multi-purpose rooms; rental meeting space; arts and crafts areas; fitness areas including an activity studio, full-sized gymnasium, weight room, stretching room, and fitness studio; and squash courts.

The existing facility closed on December 31, 2013 and demolition is planned to begin in March. Construction will start this summer, with a tentative opening targeted for early in 2016.