Grant-Harvey opening delayed again

Greg Cook, the city’s executive director of special capital projects, gives a tour of the Grant-Harvey Centre lobby on Friday. The arena is expected to be finished in July. (Shane Magee/AQ)

It’ll be a few more months before skates hit the ice at the new $29.5-million Grant-Harvey Centre.

The new arena, soon to be home to both St. Thomas University hockey teams, is now expected to be complete in July, according to Greg Cook, Fredericton’s executive director of special capital projects.

In November, city officials said it would be ready by April.

The delay will impact the STU hockey school which will now likely take place at the Lady Beaverbrook Rink.

“The big date for us is September or late August as we’re preparing for training camps. So the July date is very good for us,” athletics director Mike Eagles said.

“At the end of the day, if it’s not ready and we run our hockey school at the LBR, it’s not a big deal.”

During a tour of the building on Friday, construction crews were working on the roof of the building – which is expected to be complete in two weeks – and preparing to install more drywall in the lobby where the first coat of paint has been applied upstairs.

Bright blue tarps cover the hole where the front doors will be.

One thing pushing back the finish date is paving the parking lot. Cook said work on it won’t be complete until the asphalt plants start running in May.

The provincial and federal governments are each contributing $3.5 million to the new building while STU will pay $1.2 million. The city will pay the other $21 million.

“We are excited,” Eagles said in November about the new arena.

“It’s a big addition to our program.”

He said with more universities using newer facilities, the Grant-Harvey Centre will “give us the opportunity to get up to the level or surpass the level of facilities that a lot of teams have now.”

The complex, located at 600 Knowledge Park Dr., will feature a 1,500-seat NHL-size ice surface as the main rink, and a 500-seat Olympic-size rink.

Laying the cooling pipes for the Olympic-size rink is nearly complete. Crews haven’t started that work for the NHL rink, but will soon.

The coaches’ offices for the hockey teams will be in the building, as will a fitness area for the players.

The new arena helped STU land the women’s Canadian Interuniversity Sport National Championships in March 2014.

While there have been delays – at first, STU thought they might be in the building by 2009 – in November, Eagles said he will be happy to see the puck drop for the first game next September.

“It’s been a long time coming, the city has been talking about rinks for a while and there have been a few delays…but I’m absolutely thrilled our programs are going to go into this new facility.”

The NHL-size ice surface at the Grant-Harvey Centre is starting to take shape. Both STU hockey teams will play here after it opens. (Shane Magee/AQ)
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