The town of Blackfalds is fast-tracking plans to expand the arena and build a new library to take advantage of a competitive construction market.
A plan to twin the Multi-Plex Arena has long been in the works and the $15-million project had been scheduled in the capital plan for 2021 and 2022. A $5-million library was to be built in 2024.
However, council was told there could be significant savings if the start date for both projects is bumped up.
“The current economy and status of the construction industry strongly indicates that moving up construction ahead of an economic upturn will yield considerable construction cost savings,” says a report from chief administrative officer Myron Thompson.
As well, another $1 million could be saved if the library is built at the same time as the Multi-Plex is expanded, he said.
Thompson says in his report that an AJHL hockey team is looking at locating to Blackfalds. The owners are not interested in launching the team until the new arena has been completed, he says.
Construction on the new arena is expected to start in spring 2020 and it would take about a year to build. Plans include building a plaza that when not needed for parking, could be used to host local outdoor events and festivals.
Council voted unanimously to start both the arena and library projects in 2020.