FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Upcoming designs for renovations to the Kids Arena Field House’s are “phenomenal,” according to Fort St. John city council—but they come with a price tag over twice the expected budget.

The tender for the renovation was awarded to S Young Enterprises for the bid price of $1,213,340.10. It was the lowest of two bids submitted. The total cost of the project, including engineering fees and upgrades not included in the bid, is $1,436,712.00

The original budget for the project was $700,000. Council approved the extra $736,712.00 from the capital reserves fund. 

The renovation will add 10 to 15 years to the building’s lifespan. The work includes a lift to make the second floor accessible, redoing the floors, lighting, and the main entrance in the lobby, replacing the existing fire alarm system, and adding windows, washrooms, offices, meeting rooms, lighting and drywall in the second floor. 

City CAO Milo Macdonald noted in the report on the tender that it has been impacted by rising costs from its outset. 

Though expensive, the project received a vigorous defence from councillors. 

Councilor Trevor Bolin noted that the original transformation of the Kids Arena into a field house was not a big project.

“There was very, very little expense at that point in time, there were no major renovations done,” he explained. 

“I think now, this many years later, seeing us spend some money to improve that–I think that is pretty fantastic.”

He also notes that the facility operates at net-zero, and as such, its operation is not extensively funded by taxpayers.

The cost of the building’s renovation and operation is not the sole question nor the sole reason council was generally upbeat about the unexpectedly expensive project.

The new designs for the building are also a source of excitement.

 “It’s phenomenal,” Councillor Tony Zabinsky said. “First of all, just the drawings of it, the windows that are going to go into it. What the conception is—[it’s] great. I love it.”

“It’s huge,” he continued. “And that takes a lot of money.”

The Kids Arena Fieldhouse is used year-round by different sports leagues, teams, schools, groups, and events and will be closed for the upcoming renovations in the next few months. It is expected to be ready for 2023.

Grace Giesbrecht

Grace Giesbrecht is a news reporter for EnergeticCity.ca who recently graduated from Trinity Western University with a bachelor of arts in Media + Communications. She was born and raised just outside of Fort St. John. She began reporting for her university’s student newspaper and interned with Ottawa Life Magazine where she developed a passion for asking questions, telling stories, and the written word. In her free time, you can find her drinking coffee, snowboarding, or reading novels.