Moving arena could save project $20 million

Further options for cutting costs being discussed, vice-principal says

Vice-Principal (Facilities) Ann Browne says moving the arena will integrate west campus with main campus.
Vice-Principal (Facilities) Ann Browne says moving the arena will integrate west campus with main campus.

Moving the Queen’s Centre arena from main campus to west campus could mean massive savings for the University, said Ann Browne, associate vice-principal (facilities).

“There would be up to $20 million in savings by taking the arena from main to west campus and making it pre-engineered,” she said.

On Oct. 3, the Board of Trustees approved $7 million to be spent on the construction of the School of Kinesiology due to rising construction costs. Originally given a budget of $18 million, the School of Kinesiology will now cost closer to $25 million.

The original budget for Phase 2 of the Queen’s Centre was $83 million while Phase 3 was expected to cost $23 million.

In light of budget increases for the Queen’s Centre construction, further options for cutting costs are being discussed.

Browne said using a pre-engineered arena on west campus would be cheaper given the high costs of excavation on main campus.

“Main campus is all rock. The big thing that was going to cost money was excavation,” she said. “[Pre-engineered arenas] are steel buildings.”

Browne said no decision has been made adding that consultations with Queen’s Centre users will be held.

“We will be meeting with all the same groups as last time plus anyone who is involved. Now we have to go back to all the users,” she said. “This includes athletics and recreation, student affairs, the international centre, the chaplain, JDUC administration, the rector, AMS, and SGPS. We want to ensure we get the voice of everyone.”

Moving the arena would also mean a more integrated west campus, Browne said.

“We can enhance west campus to create a beautiful extension.”

Browne said the new arena and Richardson Stadium could be connected for practical purposes.

“We could have one area for changing rooms, concessions, et cetera,” she said. “There are big benefits. My attitude with Richardson is that it shouldn’t be so separate. We can enhance the whole of Richardson Stadium so that place becomes a destination.”

West campus would also provide greater accessibility for parking, Browne said.

“You could have parking and a drop off zone. It would be a whole lot easier.”

If the arena is moved to west campus, the field house will be moved down to a lower level in the Queen’s Centre. Browne said moving the field house will not affect the amount of space allotted for other areas.

“Building D has been pushed back. It bought us a lot of manoeuvring room,” she said. “[The field house] would fit really well.”

Browne said the University is considering possible problems associated with moving the arena.

“There are a few issues we have to consider. The ice program? Will it be impacted? We don’t want to reduce attendance at recreational events,” she said. “We have to ask what the right thing is for Queen’s.” Browne said the decision to move the arena would not affect the Queen’s Centre construction schedule.

“Phases 2 and 3 together include the field house, arena and student life piece which includes space for clubs, media, the international centre, et cetera,” she said. “If we can get financing, we will still be ahead of the [original] schedule.”

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