Penhold Multiplex set to open

After 16 months of construction, the Town of Penhold will officially open its $23-million recreation and cultural complex to the public this weekend.

Harvey Veenstra

Harvey Veenstra

After 16 months of construction, the Town of Penhold will officially open its $23-million recreation and cultural complex to the public this weekend.

A grand opening will be Saturday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Penhold Regional Multiplex located on the northeast corner of Penhold, just off of Hwy 42.

Touring the centre’s library and arena is free. Denver Daines will play at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and Magic Plus will perform at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Participation in any events including balloon rides, pancake breakfast at 8 a.m. and barbecue at 4 p.m. will cost $25 for families, $10 for individuals and $5 for children under 12. The monster truck ride will cost an additional $5.

This nearly 100,000-square-foot building includes a regional library, NHL-sized hockey rink, an upstairs running track, a gymnasium, dance studio, fitness centre and cafe.

Town officials are expecting the centre to be a popular venue for not only the 2,100 residents, but the surrounding area as well.

“This is really going to tie the people together,” said Carey Hilz, development and project officer, during Monday’s tour with local news media.

In early 2009, construction crews started erecting the structure, much of which is made of pre-fabricated concrete walls and exterior panels.

All three levels of government put money into the centre, which was once estimated at $20 million and now is pegged at just under $23 million.

Penhold Mayor Julia King said the additional amount was due to land purchase and site servicing.

King said fundraising has been ongoing, but in order to get some work finished, the town may have to debenture some funds.

John King, multiplex fundraising manager and the mayor’s husband, submitted a bid that was accepted by a committee to raise about $3.5 million. About $830,000 has been donated so far, he said.

The library features a teen lounge, a children’s area, a program room, plus eight computers. It’s now at 6,500 square feet, versus the 1,200 building it was in before.

“We wanted the full gauntlet — recreational, cultural, educational,” said John King. “It just made sense to have the library here.”

The NHL-size rink features two private viewing boxes and 463 seats.

The 4,400-square-foot fitness centre will be privately run by an operator. The child-minding area still needs an operator.

Some of the work has yet to be complete. This includes about 6,600 square feet of space on the second floor that will become municipal headquarters.

King said the new space will bring everybody together under roof. The current town office, at 1,250 square feet, is too small so Community Services is housed in a separate building.

When the gym becomes operational this fall, people will be able to play basketball, volleyball and other sports. A three-metre high climbing wall will be installed.

The second or upper floor features the dance studio, two meeting rooms and a privately run bistro cafe that will serve hot and cold meals.

The property will allow for future building expansion like a field house.

The town also hopes Chinook’s Edge School Division would choose the site for a regional high school.

The site includes football and soccer fields, so this would be a perfect spot for a school, said Hilz.