Regina stadium plan weeks away, manager says
3 companies still fine-tuning bids for $278 million stadium at Evraz Place
Brent Sjoberg, the lead official for Regina's new $278-million stadium says the final selection of a design and builder for the project will not happen until some time in the first three months of 2014.
Sjoberg, the deputy city manager for Regina, said that should still allow enough time for construction to begin in the spring of 2014 with an opening date three years later, in early 2017.
"It's a fairly fluid process," Sjoberg told CBC News Tuesday. "Looking at our timeline, our goal was to have that final selection in place to allow for the 2014 construction season."
However, about a year ago — in the fall of 2012 — in a video posted to the city's website promoting the stadium as part of a revitalization initiative, Sjoberg predicted a final design and builder would be in place by now.
"The design might be very similar to what's been put forward in the concept," Sjoberg said in October of 2012. "That should be complete by November of 2013, with a final selection of a bidder and then, from there, we'll move into the construction project."
Sjoberg said the November 2013 date was never a firm objective. He added that the project remains on schedule.
"We'll take just slightly longer but [it] won't really impact the schedule at all," he said, about the additional time to select a winning bid. "Our focus is really to make sure that we go through a really solid process. Each of the teams has to submit a significant amount of information."
There are three finalists working with city officials on a final plan for the stadium. The process, as approved by Regina City Council, has city officials selecting the final design and builder.
"Council's not part of the actual review and final decision-making process," Sjoberg explained. "They basically set out all the criteria, ahead of time, that we need to evaluate."
Sjoberg said the most important deadline is the target for opening the stadium in time for the 2017 football season.
"The key issue for us is meeting the early 2017 time line," he said. "We're still on track to meet that [and] don't anticipate any issues at all. We're still working towards that."
While some site preparation is already underway, formal construction awaits a final decision on the builder, who must line-up sub-contractors and materials.
Sjoberg said the actual start of construction, in 2014, will be influenced by the weather. He noted work is underway at Evraz Place, the location of the new stadium, for the site to be ready for construction crews in the spring.
When pressed for when the announcement on the final design would take place, Sjoberg said that date is not set.
"We don't have a specific day that's set out," he said, but added officials were aiming for an announcement in the first three months of 2014. "We're right on track for that."