Seven Oaks Arena

As Originally Seen in Award Magazine :

After several years of planning and thousands of volunteer hours, the Garden City Community Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba opened its doors to the new Seven Oaks Arena in Spring of this year. Before construction, the Seven Oaks area had approximately 27,000 residents per indoor ice sheet, well above the City of Winnipeg’s recommended 16,000 resident ratio. With no upcoming plans for an upgrade, frustrated residents took it upon themselves to provide for their growing needs. 

“Our vision was always greater than simply adding a couple of indoor ice surfaces,” explains Lorrie Rogalka, treasurer at the Garden City Community Centre. “We wanted to include other amenities that would serve both our Garden City community and the larger community of Seven Oaks.” 

The building’s facade uses a modulation of Insulated Metal Panel (IMP) with vertical window bands creating a simple but contemporary esthetic. “This type of panel is typically used for cooler type buildings in the food industry,” notes David Dulko, business development manager at Bird Construction Company Ltd.

Jeff Penner, principal in charge at Stantec Architecture Ltd., adds: “The metal-clad exterior is highlighted with phenolic panel accents at the entrance which create a softer approach, and in order to subdue the mass of the structure, white coloured insulated metal sandwich panels were used for the walls.” 

The main entry is located on the southwest corner of the facility with an airy and welcoming double-height atrium. “This central atrium creates an organizational fulcrum for the facility by providing a horizontal and vertical connection between spaces, and creating a public gathering space,” says Marcus Rarog, the project designer at Stantec. “The extensive use of interior glass between the various spaces creates transparency and an engaging experience within the building.” 

A large overhang announces the entrance to the Seven Oaks Arena from both the street and the surrounding green space, and is further defined by a receding, 21-foot-high wall of transparent glass. Tying it all in, a blue horizontal band of spandrel glazing reflects the same blue band found on the existing adjacent facilities. 

Once inside, the double-volume atrium contains an administration office, a 1,200-foot retail space – which is now the home of IceTime Sports Inc. – public washrooms, a cafe and food court, and a grand staircase. An elevator provides a barrier-free connection with the upper level and is large enough to accommodate a stretcher. 

“Within the atrium between the rinks, there will be a display case and a custom designed graphic mural which will exhibit the community, people and achievements,” notes Penner. 

On either side of the atrium, behind glazing walls, are the two NHL-sized ice rinks. Each rink has central ice access, seamless glazing, and netting around the perimeter for added spectator safety. There are five spacious dressing rooms per rink and four referee rooms shared between the two rinks. The raised spectator seating can hold approximately 480 people at each rink, has extruded vinyl benches with backs, and column-free viewing. Large, barrier-free viewing areas with glass guardrails can be found on the second floor. 

“On the concourse level, the area between the two rinks is large and a lot of ideas on how to optimize its usage were considered,” says Rogalka. “It was decided early on that the 5,500-square foot space would be leased to NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness Inc., which is owned by a Garden City resident.” In the corridors surrounding the leased space, there is a two-lane walking track that will be open year-round to the public. There are also multi-purpose meeting rooms and public spaces to further encourage the community’s involvement. 

“We wanted Seven Oaks Arena to look and feel less like steel and brick, as is usually the case with indoor arenas, and to be more welcoming, with lots of natural light and crisp lines,” states Rogalka. “Moreover, we are part of the community and we have to ensure that we do our part to be a responsible, respectful member of it by helping reduce our impact on the environment.” 

The facility is targeting three Green Globes certifications with its various energy-efficient systems. To reduce the arena’s water usage, low-flow toilets, urinals, shower heads and faucets were installed. There is no irrigation system, but native and adaptive drought-tolerant plant species are used. 

MCW/AGE Consulting Professional Engineers was the mechanical and electrical consultants on the project. Ken Isaak, partner and senior electrical engineer MCW/AGE Consulting, explains that to help create a 33 per cent increase in energy savings, occupancy sensors were installed for the energy efficient T8 and T5 lamp lighting. “Glazing and high windows create clerestory daylighting, while the high albedo roofing materials create an interior light shelf,” adds Rarog. 

The ventilation system uses low-grade heat from the ice plant for the in-floor heating in the change rooms and spectator seating, the heating and cooling in the second floor tenant area, and the heating in the link corridor to the previously existing facility. 

“Traditionally, the ice plant was a standalone system with waste heat rejected directly into the atmosphere, but reclaiming it and putting it to use is becoming more and more common,” explains Joe Shaw, senior mechanical engineer at MCW/AGE Consulting. “Here, t he system w as identified a s a prime method for meeting the energy efficiency targets for the building.” 

The construction phase also delivered its part to the whole. Low-VOC paints, coatings, sealants and adhesives were used. Materials were locally sourced where practical and 79 per cent were diverted from landfill. 

Fittingly, portions of the site were once part of an old City of Winnipeg dump site, which created challenges for the Bird Construction team. “Together with the City of Winnipeg, we needed to design a safe site with protection from any potential methane gas migration,” notes Dulko. “Safe and economical solutions were designed and installed successfully with very little effect on the final budget.” 

Another challenge was maintaining electrical service to the existing Garden City Community Centre next door. “Maintaining service while upgrading the size of the electrical infrastructure required a substantial increase in the service size and was accomplished with co-operation and co-ordination between the design team, Manitoba Hydro, the owner and the contractors,” says Isaak. 

Funding for the project came from collaboration between the Garden City Community Centre, the City of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba. 

“We’ve shown our community and our own children that you can dream a dream that is beyond your experience or knowledge at first,” says Rogalka. “And with hard work and determination, you can make it a reality.”
Seven Oaks Arena : News & Media : Bird Construction