The new Skeena Ice Arena (shown above) is nearing cost finalization. Architect John Hemsworth aims to return to Hazelton early next month to iron out the details with the owners’ group.

The new Skeena Ice Arena (shown above) is nearing cost finalization. Architect John Hemsworth aims to return to Hazelton early next month to iron out the details with the owners’ group.

Arena cost to be determined next visit

John Hemsworth, architect, came to the Hazeltons to discuss details of the new Skeena Ice Arena.

John Hemsworth, architect, came to the Hazeltons Jan. 22 to discuss the finer details of the new Skeena Ice Arena, of which plans have been underway for some time.

Hemsworth spoke to members of the owners’ group about what is possible for the new facility and also what he, from experience, doesn’t see happening.

Part of the plan is building the arena out of wood, which allows for more opportunity for local timber and jobs.

“Think about it this way if we’d been building out of wood all along and somebody came here and said ‘let’s use steel so we can ship materials from the other side of the world’ you’d say they were crazy,” Hemsworth said to the nearly 30 people in attendance. “It makes so much more sense to use as much local resources as possible to build this arena. That way it will be more of a hub of the community because everything that went into it is from here.”

Most of the arenas in B.C. are made out of steel and on top of the added cost of shipping the structures, they just don’t look as good, Hemsworth said.

“When you use wood for an arena it is just much more inviting and warm,” he said. “I am adamant about natural light and when done right venues like the one you all want to build could be used for weddings, graduations and other celebrations.”

One of the largest setbacks for designing a building is how to heat the facility and Hemsworth offered his experience to the crowd.

George Muldoe asked if it would be best to use geothermal to heat the arena and Hemsworth said yes, but added a caution.

“To do geothermal the capital has to be there up front,” he said. “It takes eight to 10 years for geothermal heating to pay for itself in a building of this size as well.”

Hemsworth plans to be back in four to five weeks with a costed plan for the new arena.