What the…??! Stadium Designs Already???!?

The headache I picked up at last night’s council meeting hasn’t subsided — hell, I haven’t even had three hours of uninterrupted sleep since the city officially decided to pursue a P3 procurement for the Mosaic Stadium replacement and now today I’ve received a press release saying that tomorrow at 1:30pm there will be a technical briefing at city hall where reps from city staff and the Roughriders will unveil concept designs for the stadium.

Well now. That seems…. quick.

Here’s the text of the release….

Regina Revitalization Initiative (RRI)
Stadium concept designs to be revealed

Media are invited to the unveiling of concept designs for the new stadium and the launch of the project website:

Wednesday, September 19
Darlene Hincks Committee Room, City Hall
1:30 p.m.

Deputy City Manager Brent Sjoberg from the City and Dipesh Patel, architect on the project, will conduct a technical briefing on the designs, followed by a question and answer session with representatives from the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Evraz Place.

This worries me for a couple reasons.

Update: As commenter Pat points out below, these are just conceptual drawings showing what could be accomplished with the money available and they’ve been kicking around for a while. They’re probably a step in identifying the parameters of the project.  And that’s all very interesting and another reason to attend the technical briefing.

Still, lines like “Stadium concept designs to be revealed,” “the unveiling of concept designs for the new stadium” and “architect on the project” are pretty loaded, and as the stadium sits atop a raw nerve right now, I’m surprised this release wasn’t either more cautious in tone or more detailed so that no misconceptions could get passed around. I’ve heard mention of these concept designs in the media a few times today and I wonder what impression that’s leaving.

All that said, I’ll leave my original comments below.

* * * * *

First, I seem to recall from the April 30 council meeting that the city would be holding a competition to decide the design and configuration of the new stadium. City staff said they’d be bringing forward a plan to support this “Developer Design Competition” in September. So, now. But, this press release says we’re already going to see concept designs? And that the project has an architect?

Now, call me crazy, but I feel like there’s a step that might be missing here. Like the design competition. I don’t seem to see any mention of that at all.

Second, man… am I the only person who finds this all seems a little rushed. And yet, at last night’s council meeting, Deputy City Manager Brent Sjoberg assured council that his staff were doing their due diligence and taking their time to make sure the stadium P3 was carried out carefully and correctly so the city won’t get screwed down the line. “Good,” I thought. Because as I mentioned in our discussion of the stadium P3 in the most recent episode of Ultrasonic Alarm Call, the P3 experts at the National Infrastructure Summit warned that a P3 can go bad if a city enters into it recklessly.

But the fact that the procurement model was only just agreed upon 24 hours ago and yet we already have design concepts to look at makes me wonder at just how tight the schedule is that city staff seem to be working to. I mean, what would have happened if the 16 delegations that came forward last night to call for a referendum had prevailed? What if 25 delegations had come out to protest the recommendation to go with a P3 and CUPE had organized a general strike and in the face of all that opposition council decided to look into a different procurement model? Where would those design concepts have been then? I mean, in theory, that there was a vote last night means there should have been a bottleneck in the schedule, some room for uncertainty. And yet staff seem to be going ahead with this project as though they already know how all the votes at council will turn out.

Spooky.

Clearly our city staff must be psychic. No wonder council trusts them so much.

Anyway… really, I’m just throwing ideas and guesses around in a blog post because it’s too late at night to call anyone up at city hall and find out what’s really going on. Hopefully, all these concerns will get sorted out at tomorrow’s technical briefing…. which (and this is totally just a personal aside) it looks like I’ll be bringing my son to. He’s one. But I really want to go and I don’t have child care.

And besides, I think he might really enjoy it. Especially if there are little balsa wood mock ups. We’ll get to see if their design concepts can withstand the fury of Dashiellsaurus Rex.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5’10” tall and he was born in a place. He’s not there now. He’s sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It’s “Girl From Ipanema”, thanks for asking.

You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

9 thoughts on “What the…??! Stadium Designs Already???!?”

  1. They had the conceptual drawings before the NIS even. I think the idea is that these are just one dude’s ideas of what CAN be done for the amount of money identified. The design of the actualy facility is built into the P3 model after all, rignt? The DBF model?

    But yeah. They’ve never gotten the optics of this whole stadium/RRI thing quite right, no reason to think they’ll start now.

  2. Pat: Okay, now that makes some sense.

    Still, is it really a good idea to be putting out concept sketches at all regardless of how tentative they are?

    The city is still facing widespread misconceptions from the videos and artist renderings that were in the media when they were considering a retractable dome stadium. And then there was the hullaballoo over those early 3D mockups of the plaza (which actually turned out to be pretty good representations of what the final product would look like).

    And then of course there was the last time we were fed the “it’s just a concept” line with the central branch….

    Also, is this architect the same guy who was involved in the design of the Manchester Stadium? That Dipesh Patel did a piece in the Guardian.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2007/nov/07/stadiumisnowhiteelephantb

  3. Keep in mind, folks, that the $278M is ONLY a budget, it has no relation to the actual cost of any stadium design they have worked on in the past. As per Councillor O’Donnell, this is the amount of money they have to work with, and are supposed to be sending out requests for RFP’s to see what can come back for the $278M price tag. To me, this announcement here is FAR TOO premature, since the RFP’s supposedly haven’t gone out yet. What are they hiding!?!??!?

    Oh…and I’ll be there tomorrow.

  4. I feel comepletely helpless in this whole stadium mess. Makes me want to leave yqr. The petition? Does that not count for anything? Who is pocketing the big $ here? Smells like kickbacks gallore. CUPE will you PLEASE GO ON STRIKE!!!

  5. During federal election campaigns it’s not kosher to have public money doled out in new grants, etc. It seems highly… unusual… for our City to be pushing full steam ahead with a quarter Billion dollar project financed 91% with public money, in the midst of an election campaign.

  6. #3 thanks for your CoR coverage/ perspective.

    point a. Arofready stadium would require a HVAC system installed,that would sit un-used until a roof is put in place.

    You don’t need heating or air-conditioning in an an open air arena.

    55,000 seats needed for Grey Cup 2013.

    So what happens with those 20,000 + seats? throw them, or “donate” them away or just leave them there,costing $0 and generate more revenue for the teams/CoR?

  7. I have seen the new stadium plans.
    The USA many have a Gator Bowl, Rose Bowl and the Orange Bowl. But here in Regina in the country of Canada …the CFL will be able to have a Toilet Bowl minus the lid.

  8. #7 — The seats added for Grey Cup 2013 were financed by the Roughriders and the Roughriders alone. They’re calling it a legacy project; they won’t be callously destroyed after the event, they’ll be dismantled and distributed to smaller centres around Saskatchewan at no cost. So smaller venues will have new, professional-grade seating at no cost.

    And John, I suppose the rationale is the same as for why there’s a council meeting scheduled for early October in the middle of the campaign: unlike the federal government the city doesn’t stop working while a vote is happening. City staff can still work on projects. The conceptual drawings are part of the RRI project, which has existed for a couple years now. Its part of a process, they say.

Comments are closed.