LeMarchant and South: a seven-storey structure will soon dominate this corner. Photo: Omar Rawji

Dal to lose Memorial Arena due to construction

New student residence forces demolition of adjacent building

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The Dalhousie Tigers hockey teams will lose their on-campus ice hockey arena for about four years because of the new students residence being built next to it.

Jeff Lamb, head of Dalhousie Facilities Management informed the university's board of governors during their meeting on Tuesday.

This comes as a result of the new students residence being built at the corner of LeMarchant St. and South St. for which construction preparation has already begun. The building will consist of five storeys of student housing - over 300 beds - with two floors of "student service related space" below.

Why Memorial Arena has to be demolished

Structural studies show that due to the new seven storey structure, snow drifting loads on the adjacent Memorial Arena will require a roof reinforcement or replacement, said Lamb.

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Demolition preparation is underway on LeMarchant St. Photo: Omar Rawji

The roof, he said, would cost $3-4 million alone to replace. This, combined with planned upgrades to bring the 30-year old building up to date, would cost around $10-12 million. Lamb told the board the total cost to upgrade the arena would be the same as building a new basic facility.

Those planned upgrades to Memorial Arena were reflected under the current Master Plan Document, which showed the west side of the building being fitted with new changing rooms that would service both the arena and Wickwire Field.

Instead of updating Memorial Arena, the new plan will see it demolished and replaced by the already approved Dalplex expansion, which was to be built on the site of the student residence, Eliza Ritchie Hall.

The Tigers' new home

As for the displaced hockey players, the plan is for them to play at the Halifax Forum on Windsor St. while the future of Dalhousie's arena is determined. Lamb discussed two possibilities for this. The most likely would be to move the arena to the soon to be empty Eliza Ritchie site but there is also the chance of collaborating with Saint Mary's University and HRM on a new two-pad arena near Gorsebrook High School.

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