When it came to designing and building North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex, inclusivity and accessibility were a focus, says the City of Surrey’s manager of civic facilities.
“(We’re) much more aware now than we were years ago of all the needs for people to be accessible and inclusive,” says Scott Groves, adding that the designers and architects took all of that into consideration as the facility was built.
“It’s a more accessible arena than the others (in the city).”
Laurie Cavan, general manager of parks, recreation and culture, said the city is committed to increasing recreational opportunities in North Surrey.
“We know that healthy communities are those where residents of all ages and ability levels are engaged and active in sports and recreation,” she said in a statement. “The North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex will increase capacity for recreation programming, delivering 3 sheets of ice, a state-of-the-art fitness studio and weight room, outdoor activity areas, multi-purpose room programming, rentals and food services. We are excited to welcome everyone to this modern, fully accessibly facility.”
On Friday at 10950 126A Street, Groves took the Now-Leader on an exclusive tour of the facility, which is due open on Tuesday (Sept. 3) for user groups. The first public skating session will be held on Sept. 30.
The Surrey Knights, whose home base will now be at the facility, will host a home-opener for the 2019-20 season against the visiting Port Moody Panthers starting at 7 p.m. on Thursday (Sept. 5).
First on the tour is the changerooms. Groves says the 10 changerooms were designed for accessibility, but also for women’s and co-ed teams, so the showers are now enclosed.
“All the other hockey arenas that you go to are set up for men, so you’d usually have a urinal in here. Because we’re seeing a lot of women and mixed teams… we thought that it was more appropriate that we made it so it’s completely neutral and not set up like a men’s changeroom.”
Moving to the arenas, Groves points out the players’ benches (which had yet to be installed) are actually removable. That’s so when the para-hockey team plays, they can use the whole space and not have to get out of the sledges.
Because of that, Groves says the boards were fitted with clear lexan, so the para-hockey players can still see the ice while on the bench or in the penalty box.
The arenas have also been “well-planned” for other sports, Groves said. Under the ice, the floors have been fitted to allow for “dry-floor sports” in the off-season.
He said the focus on dry-floor sports is “different for this arena than it was in the past because dry sports in the summertime have evolved quite a bit. When we built the arenas previously, they were really focused on being ice arenas.”
When the ice comes out, Groves said, there are steel inserts in the concrete to put posts for nets in. He said that needs to be done during the initial construction phase “because if you just build it for ice, you can’t put those in later because you might penetrate the refrigeration piping.”
North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex is 110,000 square feet in size and includes three sheets of ice. Arenas 1 and 3 can accommodate 100 spectators, while arena 2 can accommodate up to 500 spectators with retractable bleachers for large events.
There is also a fitness centre, a yoga studio and an indoor cycling room, which will be coming in January 2020 when North Surrey Recreation Centre closes. The recreation centre is closing in two phases, with the arena’s programs transitioning to North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex in early September.
On windows at the front of the building is a public art piece by Katzie First Nations artist Trenton Pierre. The piece, according to the city, was “fabricated in white dots on clear glass.” Pierre’s mirrored designs on the facility “symbolize reconciliation in the form of a contemporary Salish dance mask and drum filled with hopeful symbols.”