As organizers work to nail down agreements to use existing venues for the 2015 PanAm Games, the province announced Tuesday the winning bid for construction of a sports facility touted as a centrepiece of the event.
PCL Aquatics Centre 2012 has signed a contract to design, build and finance the aquatics centre and field house to be built on a former landfill next to the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus at a contract price of $158.8-million. The team consists of developer and contractor PCL Constructors Canada and designer NORR Ltd.
David Clusiau, NORR’s senior principal architectural design and lead designer on the project, said the complex will encompass three masses connected by a main corridor, each with contrasting sloping roofs. The building was designed with Southern Ontario’s landscape in mind.
“I mean the glacially formed landscape of Southern Ontario that undulates and is modified by the glacial pressures of the region,” Mr. Clusiau said. “It gives it a dynamic silhouette and makes it more of a landmark building, both for the Games and in the community.”
PCL was one of three companies shortlisted last June to lead the project, one of five new sporting venues under construction for when Toronto welcomes 10,000 athletes from 41 countries to the Games.
The construction company has offices across Canada, and built has worked on a number of high-profile construction projects including the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort and the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
NORR designed the Allstream Centre at Exhibition Place and the GM Centre in Oshawa, and is currently working on Toronto’s Union Station renovation.
The 300,000-square-foot complex will play host to swimming, synchronized swimming, diving, and fencing events, as well as part of the pentathlon. Plans for the venue include an aquatics centre with two Olympic-sized pools and a dive tank, as well as a field house containing three gymnasiums, a 200-metre indoor running track, racquet courts and a fitness centre.
Value for longevity, quality of the building envelope and energy performance were factors considered alongside the centre’s actual design. Mr. Clusiau said the complex was designed with transparency in mind, as well as its life for the local community well after the Games have finished.
“In essence to encourage people to become engaged and try thing out that they might have seen as they walk through,” he said. “There’s a significant amount of openness and ability to see all the pools and other activities.”
The cost of the project is being split between the University of Toronto, the City of Toronto and the federal government. In 2010, University of Toronto Scarborough students voted to chip in $30-million toward the facility as part of a 25-year financial levy.
The centre, which will be jointly owned by the university and the city, will become home to the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario after the Games and will house recreation space for U of T students and area residents.
Organizers for the Games say they’re still running within the event’s $1.4-billion budget. In May, the TO2015 organizing committee announced they would scale back the scope of the Games and host more sports in fewer venues to cut costs. As it stands, 11 municipalities and three universities will host 36 sports during the event.
The original 2009 bid proposed 16 municipalities hosting 36 sports at more than 40 venues.
In 2011, Toronto’s contribution to the Games nearly doubled to $96.5-million when the city’s executive committee voted to spend an additional $47-million to cover inflation, capital costs, and upgrades to existing facilities. About $23-million, almost half of the increase, was designated to remediate the soil of the former dump site where the new sports complex will be built.
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