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Prelim cost for Calgary multisport fieldhouse pegged at $380 million

If approved, Calgary's multisport fieldhouse project could proceed to the design stage.

The preliminary estimated cost of a proposed Calgary multisport fieldhouse is now roughly $380 million, with the city already having banked $109 million of the cost.

That information, along with the final amenity mix, is being delivered to Calgary’s Multisport Fieldhouse Committee on June 26. Admin is asking the committee to recommend council’s approval of the mix and to proceed to a design stage.

The city had laid out an initial amenity mix back in April, with a promise to come back to committee with a more detailed plan on operation, usage, sport mix and cost.  Previously, 2019 estimated costs for the fieldhouse were pegged at around $280 million to $300 million.

The core amenities, as previously reported, include a track and field area, gymnasia, and an artificial turf field. The updated report tweaked the mix of activities based on community and sports organization feedback.

The amenity study followed the principles of maximizing programming for Calgarians while maintaining operational efficiency, competition capability and flexibility for other uses.

“The proposed amenity mix and configuration of the facility result in operational efficiencies and increased opportunities for Calgarians to participate in programming,” the admin cover report read.

Ward 3 Coun. Jasmine Mian, chair of the Multisport Fieldhouse Committee, said the proposal continues to refine the project details as it moves forward.

“I think the exciting part for me is that if approved, the project will move into design,” she said.

“That’s a significant milestone for a project that was static for many years.”

The prior amenity mix included a vast array of sporting opportunities, that were narrowed for this report.  Coun. Mian said it’s impossible to meet everyone’s expectations for the project; they had to find the best mix that is flexible for new sports, but still caters to core sports where there’s a high need for indoor space.

Economics of the fieldhouse

The amenity study also projected possible annual economic impact, giving a wide range of $20 million to $64 million annually depending on events hosted by the facility.

The fieldhouse would be designed to host international sports events, while still maintaining flexibility to be reconfigured for community programming.

The operating model assumes certain costs that are already covered by the city (labour, maintenance, inflation, lifecycle replacement) and potential for revenue (rates, attendance, sponsorship, advertising) and does allow for some commercial leases.

The report also outlines a Class 5 cost estimate of $380 million. This was described by Coun. Mian as a “rough cost estimate.” 

“We won’t really get more refined costs until we move into concept and detailed design, which is sort of the juncture that we’re at right now,” she said.

The report does say that the $380 million is within the project envelope that they’ve discussed with other stakeholders. The project would need support from other orders of government to proceed.

Those conversations, while still high level, according to Mian, are positive.

“I’m really encouraged by the fact that we now have a Minister of Sport (MLA Joseph Schow) for the first time in a really long time,” Mian said.

“I think that signals that we have a provincial government who’s making investments in our sporting infrastructure, and so we’re proceeding with a lot of optimism.”

Targeted engagement was done with both sports organizations and community associations. The report shows their feedback influenced the ancillary facilities (team rooms, change rooms, etc.) and also validated the sizing for fields and courts to allow for activities covering the local to international gamut.

A preliminary project timeline would see the building break ground in 2026.

Attach 2-Amenity Refinement… by Darren Krause