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Massive leisure complex under construction in Lethbridge

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by Russell Hixson

Crews are hard at work in Lethbridge, Alta., building the $109-million ATB Centre, which will be the largest leisure complex in the region.
Massive leisure complex under construction in Lethbridge

The 256,000-square-foot facility will include an aquatic centre with leisure pool, training pool, water slides, a lazy river, surf rider and whirlpool, multipurpose rooms, a fitness centre, a field house and gymnasium with an elevated running track, a child minding area, indoor playground, child care and commercial lease spaces.

The project is Phase 2 of the complex, which includes a twin pad arena and a 10 sheet curling facility.

"It is a very large facility," said Jarle Lovlin, principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects, the project's architect. "It's an addition to what is now an existing building. It's kind of a mega recreation facility."

Lovlin explained that one of the big challenges was joining the two spaces and providing a "common public realm so that all of the facilities could feel like they are part of one big collective public space."

One of the ways they achieved this was creating a large, two storey public street called the galleria which adjoins the main lobby, linking all the facilities together."

The team also utilized glass and transparency.

"This allows people to overlook spaces and provides passive participation," Lovlin said. "Within a few seconds of entering you can see where you want to go or where you need to be."

During the design phase the team worked closely with the contractor, Stuart Olson, in determining what materials would be used and how they would delivered.

"There was a very close relationship that was really helpful," Lovlin said.

The team has also been making use of offsite work. Stuart Olson pre-painted the structural steel, pre-finished the wood roof deck and the architect's specified ductwork from Quebec will be arriving with a factory painted finish. This is being done to reduce the construction schedule, increase the quality and reduce the amount of scaffolding required during construction.

Lovlin said all of the structural steel is up and most of the concrete work is done though some pours are waiting for warmer weather.

"They have done a great job. For a site of this scale it is one of the cleanest happiest sites that we have worked on," Lovlin said. "I would give a lot of kudos to the construction manager on this project. We have a really good working relationship, we had that through the design phase, they were part of the process early on."

Lovlin said that this helped develop personal relationships.

"You become colleagues, not just partners," he said. "They have good people involved on site and that is worth more than its weight in gold."

The project is expected to wrap up near the end of next year.

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