After months of planning, major renovations of just more than $1.8 million are set to start at the Stettler Recreation Centre next week and continue into the winter.
“We plan to start demolition after the Labour Day weekend,” said Lee Penner, the town’s director of parks and leisure services, who last week discussed the final plans with council and architect John Hull.
Project contractor Shunda is set to begin to demolish the front main entrance and renovate the library upstairs.
“We’ll probably start the seniors’ centre upstairs at the same time,” Hull said.
With the work to redesign the main entrance with sliding doors, users will be requested to use the south entrance.
Work on the library is expected to take about two months, while the seniors’ centre in the conference room is set to be ready for Christmas.
An additional 35 parking spaces on the south side of the site are expected to be completed in three weeks.
Hull met with council after Coun. Leona Thorogood requested at an earlier meeting that the contractor calculate costs of “elaborate aesthetic features,” such as a vaulted ceiling in the library, so council could consider cost reductions.
Although the councillor was absent last week, Hull told council that the ceiling feature is such a small component and involve several trades, it would be difficult to find a firm figure. “All other scope reduction reduces the quality of the project and building,” he said.
Other members of council agreed.
“We don’t want to reduce the quality of the facility,” Mayor Dick Richards said.
“The SRC is a showcase of our community and I don’t want to see any shortcuts. “Aesthetics is the key to the whole project.”
Height and vaulted ceilings create open and welcome spaces, Hull said.
“To me, this is good community space.”
Originally built about 20 years ago, the facility has become a centre of much activity for the Stettler region.
Another councillor repeated his views on cutting costs, as he expressed in the past.
“We’ve all had projects where we cheaped out and later kicked ourselves months or years later that we didn’t do, and then it’s cost us more,” Coun. Darcy Bachman said.
After completing renovations to the Stettler fire station several years ago, Shunda is eager to embark on the major project at the recreation centre, Hull said.