U of O fast-tracks new sports stadium

Debate continues over combining construction, demolition contracts

University of Ottawa officials intend to kick off bidding to construct a new $8-million sports stadium in the coming weeks with an aggressive goal of completing the open-air facility by August.

“We’re going out for tender around mid-February, which is on schedule right now,” said Sylvio Miron, the project manager as well as the university’s facility planner.

“It’s quite a fast-track project. We started last May studying the site and doing most of the environmental assessment.”

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The triangular site, wedged between Highway 417, the Rideau River and Lees Avenue, will feature stadium bleachers and enough infrastructure to put in a temporary dome during the wintertime to allow for all-season play.

This facility, the second sports stadium for the University of Ottawa, will be especially important for the Gee-Gees football team, which will soon be able to practice on campus instead of commuting 14 kilometres to a dome near École secondaire Publique Louis-Riel, Mr. Miron noted.

“There’s a lack of sports surfaces (on campus). Usually a university has around seven to eight sports surfaces. It’s going to be make us more competitive with other universities.”

The university will also rent out the facility to community groups for a fee, creating another revenue stream.

Construction activity will produce many subcontracts for installing temporary barriers, removing asphalt, existing light standards and drainage infrastructure, as well as subsequently building and landscaping the new site.

The most complicated part will be demolishing one-quarter of a 60,000-square-foot building on the site’s edge that houses two lecture theatres, a couple of laboratories and storage facilities. Classes and research in the unaffected parts of the building will continue while work is underway.

Due to the complexity of demolition and constructing the adjacent field, as of mid-January the university was debating whether to split those projects into two separate requests for proposals, or stick with a single tender.

Companies with expertise in both sports field construction and building demolition are scarce, says Mr. Miron, adding the university is still mulling the idea of breaking up the project contract.

RFPs have already gone out for such items as building the bleachers, the nets and the scoreboard in the facility. A decision on recipients of these contracts will be made in late January.

City site approvals are expected within the next month.

Another major capital project on campus is expected to wrap up later this year when Aecon Construction completes work on a new 15-storey tower for the university’s faculty of social sciences and finishes renovations to the adjacent Vanier Hall.

The total value for that project is estimated at $112.5 million and includes work by Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc., KWC Architects Inc. and MHPM Project Managers Inc.

Separately, the city is considering two proposals to demolish derelict houses in the U of O neighbourhood at 206 Henderson Ave. and 72 Templeton St., near King Edward Avenue and Somerset Street East. The planning committee is expected to decide on those applications March 13.

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