regina stadium pcl

Regina's new football stadium is now under construction. It's expected to be substantially finished, and ready for some test events, in August of 2016 with a final opening set for the 2017 football season. (PCL)

Workers with PCL have moved onto the site of Regina's new football stadium and begun work on the project, following an official ground-breaking ceremony Monday. The stadium is expected to be ready for test-runs in August of 2016, with an official opening just ahead of the 2017 Saskatchewan Roughriders football season.

'It's fun to be able to build things that are not typically built in your city.' - Sean Hamelin, PCL

The $278-million replacement for Mosaic Stadium is located at Evraz Place, Regina's exhibition grounds, just a few hundred metres west of the existing building, which will be torn down to make way for a residential and commercial development.

"The site is ready to go," Regina Mayor Michael Fougere said Monday just before a ground-breaking ceremony. "All the underground work is done and we're ready to start digging that big hole."

The stadium is designed as a sunken bowl with most of the 33,000 seats below grade. The seating is expandable to 40,000 for special events.

"It is challenging but it's also very exciting," Sean Hamelin, district manager for PCL, said Monday. "And it's fun to be able to build things that are not typically built in your city every year."

sean hamelin pcl

Sean Hamelin, district manager for PCL, says his company is looking forward to the challenge of building the new stadium. (CBC)

Hamelin said it will be the largest job PCL has taken in Regina. The first step is to remove 300,000 cubic metres of dirt. That is the equivalent of 112 Olympic-sized swimming pools or about 25,000 truckloads of material. 

Piling will start in July with a total of four construction cranes being erected August through October.

"It'll take a little while before it becomes apparent on the horizon because we have such a large excavation," Hamelin said. "But by the time it hits next spring, there will be significant structure coming out of the ground."

The construction crews will work the site in four quadrants with excavation followed by concrete work — some 40,000 cubic metres of concrete.

The cost of the stadium will be covered mostly by taxpayers through contributions from the province and the city, with ticket-buyers and corporate sponsors also contributing.

Parking should be OK

While the project is under construction, managers of Evraz Place say they don't expect users to encounter too many issues.

"There's parking for 500 to 600 cars in the Cooperator's Centre in total," Mark Allan, CEO of Evraz Place said Monday. "And we're expanding that a bit, so there's really no big change."

The Evraz Place entrance, from Elphinstone Street, has moved a few metres north to 10th Avenue. Another entrance, off Princess Street, will also feature some additional paved parking.

Allan said the summer fair, the Queen City Ex, will not be affected by construction.

Hamelin added PCL will be able to use existing routes to get to the construction site without closing roads, although there may be some temporary closures to accommodate connecting some services.

"There will certainly be lots of eyeballs on [the project]," Hamelin said. "But we enjoy that. Just like the players like to play under pressure, we like to work under pressure."

With files from CBC's Tory Gillis