Vancouver Olympic curling venue becomes community hub

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by Shannon Moneo last update:Oct 17, 2014

The challenge and success of retrofitting an existing 2010 Olympic facility has earned The Haebler Group one of the Vancouver Regional Construction Association's Silver Awards in the General Contractor Under $15 Million category.
Vancouver Olympic curling venue becomes community hub


The Hillcrest Centre, which was the site of the curling competition for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, has been transformed into the Hillcrest Park Legacy Community Centre.

The $10.3 million project for the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation started in April 2010, soon after the 2010 Games finished.

Work on the LEED Gold project wrapped up in May 2011.

“We finished on time and on budget,” said Savva Hatzisavva, senior project manager and estimator with The Haebler Group.

The City of Vancouver’s director of facilities planning and development said the Olympic curling venue was built with an eye to the future.

“We didn’t want to build an extreme building that would never be used,” said Danica Djurkovic, also a member of the Architectural Institute of B.C.

Clever planning was used to render the building as a top-notch Olympic venue and then allow for it to be moulded to public use, she said.

Covering an area of almost 50,000 square feet, the project involved revamping the existing shell facility into a full-fledged community centre.

It houses an ice rink lobby, curling club lounge, offices, library, pre-school and gymnasium, in addition to the curling rink, aquatic centre (with indoor and outdoor pools) and fitness centre.

Winter Games spectator seating and overlay were removed to allow for construction.

The design was by Hughes Condon Marler Architects.

The configuration of the two-level facility demanded creative construction solutions, Hatzisavva said.

The NHL-sized ice rink is in the middle of the overall structure, while the other activity spaces lead off in four directions.

A grand foyer/concourse serves two separate areas.

One challenge was keeping certain areas warm, while not affecting temperature in the ice rinks.

“We had to treat the interior walls as an exterior envelope,” Hatzisavva said.

Specialized acoustical and waterproofing treatments were also necessary to deal with moisture from the pool.

Custom exterior windows overlook the ice rink from the second floor.

Windows are not a common fixture in ice rinks.

Because the facility is multi-use, the mechanical system was rather complicated, Hatzisavva noted.

One more challenge thrown into the mix was that the already functioning aquatic centre meant crews had to work around an open pool.

Haebler did an excellent job, Djurkovic said.

“And with all those challenges, we also had to deal with leftover Olympic items,” Hatzisavva said.

There was such a rush to get the curling rink open for international pre-Olympic events in 2009, certain items weren’t completed.

When crews went to put a connection to a line they would discover there was no existing water line, Hatzisavva said.

Fortunately, a good group of tradespeople were working on the Haebler project.

“The sub-trades all performed as they should,” he said.

The generous use of wood in the facility is a notable feature that continued a theme from the 2010 Olympic Games. Many of the LEED aspects were related to the millwork and wood components.

In the ice area, the wood “softened” the space, Hatzisavva said.

A “random shuffle” placement was used throughout the facility.

Most of the wood, predominantly birch and maple, was from Oregon.

The wood couldn’t be sourced in B.C. because B.C. mills focus on spruce and fir production, Hatzisavva explained.

Djurkovic was impressed with Haebler’s quality work, some of that evident in the concrete work and finishing details.

Hatzisavva, who has 15 years of industry experience, called Haebler’s award-winner, “A great little project.”

last update:Oct 17, 2014

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