It might not be as comfy and cozy as watching your favorite show in your home, stretched out on your couch but it might be a close second.
Catching a hockey game in the new Servus Arena in Red Deer will be a much different experience than it has been in years past.
Not to say the most recent rink seating was uncomfortable but the new place to plant your posterior will be an upgrade.
The number of people able to be in the rink will stay about the same as the old building but gone is the bleacher style seating we are used to seeing.
“The seating will be the fixed bucket type seating you see at the Centrium,” said project manager Curtis Martinek with the City of Red Deer.
Fan comfort is certainly part of the mix so along with the new seating the air temperature in the new rink will be such that you can be wearing a light jacket and be comfortable, he said.
The environment is also part of the equation with the building envelope much tighter than the old arena so it will be energy efficient which translates into not costing as much to operate.
“Everything from water usage to the LED lighting, everything is new so it will be much cheaper to run. People will certainly enjoy the new building.”
Taking that theme a step further is how the city is making good use of the material in the old building as the new one goes up.
When the demolition took place there was a big effort to salvage what they could. Some material went out to smaller communities to use in their rinks and the old bleachers will be used as part of a drink rail along the upper viewing deck in the new digs.
During construction there was a 75% re-use policy so anything which could be recycled was recycled, even the concrete.
The old neon arena sign will be getting a new lease on life as well in the new building.
“It will be inside the building so a little piece of nostalgia that when you walk into the building you’ll see the sign,” he said.
But the trip down memory lane doesn’t end there. Martinek says a lot of memorabilia from the teams which called that rinks home for so many years will be part of a display on the walls to keep the history of the rink alive.
The price tag in order to save money is around $21 million dollars and city officials had the option of doing a renovation or a rebuild. The decision was made to make a fresh start and the collapse of the Sylvan Lake arena roof a few years back played a role in heading that direction.
“So we did look at the Red Deer Arena roof at the same time, similar style roof system and it was determined that roof didn’t meet current building codes so to upgrade it was approximately four to five million if I remember correctly and then we’re still left with the same old building,” said Martinek.
City council put it to a vote and the decision as to go with a rebuild which would be better use of city dollars.
The original plan was to open the doors in September of 2018 but construction is ahead of schedule at this point and Martinek says by the end of September an opening date could be confirmed.
Take a seat. It will be comfy!