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Hurricane hampers Centrium project


Although Hurricane Sandy clobbered northeastern shores thousands of kilometres away, it still managed to hamper renovations at Red Deer’s Centrium.

John Harms, chief executive officer and general manager for Westerner Park, said on Monday that the additional 1,000 seats were to be in place sooner in November.

But Mother Nature thwarted those plans.

The seats were installed the beginning of last week.

“The seats got stuck on a boat in New York harbour, the day before Hurricane Sandy hit,” said Harms, about the storm that landed in New York City early on Oct. 29.

“That took about 10 days to two weeks to get them unloaded, and as soon as they arrived, they were here to be installed.”

The 1,000 seats will make the complex into a 7,000-seat arena.

This is part of a large expansion project that has seen costs rising. It is now pegged at $5.5 million instead of the original $4.5 million.

The upgrade also includes 13 more luxury suites and a 40-seat club suite. Those suites were expected to be done by Dec. 21. The original timeline was mid-December.

Harms said that suite owners should be in their new digs for the Dec. 28 Red Deer Rebels hockey game.

“They’ve been extremely understanding,” said Harms.

“We offered them other tickets in the arena for the time they’ve been inconvenienced.”

The project has had other delays since construction began in mid-April.

A new kitchen has also been installed on the lower level, an elevator shaft was installed in the lobby, and the new washrooms in the Parkland Pavilion are done.

A grand opening is planned for January.

ltester@reddeeradvocate.com

 
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