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Pre-fab steel helps Saskatchewan skating rink rise from the ashes

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The Town of Lemberg, Sask. lost its community recreation centre to a fire in the spring of 2012.
Pre-fab steel helps Saskatchewan skating rink rise from the ashes

The Town of Lemberg, Sask. lost its community recreation centre to a fire in the spring of 2012.

Originally discouraged by the cost of replacing the building and the skating rink inside, the town has turned to pre-fabricated steel construction to resurrect the facility.

Lemberg is a town of 300 people located about 100 kilometres northeast of Regina.

Town volunteers built the original rink facility 50 years ago.

The complex consisted of two separate Quonset-style buildings, joined by an entrance hall.

Twenty firefighters battled the blaze and were able to save the lobby and curling rink, but not the skating rink building, which was considered too expensive to repair.

In addition to his duties as manager of the rink, Bob Pfeifer serves on the town’s volunteer fire department.

“The buildings are made of wood and covered with tin and stand side by side, about four feet apart,” he said.

“We got the fire out before the building collapsed, but there was no chance to save the skating rink. A rink is central to a town like ours — if you let the rink die, the town dies.”

Town officials recouped some money through fire insurance payments and originally considered replacing the building with a canvas-covered steel structure.

>They eventually chose a pre-fabricated steel building from Ontario-based Olympia Steel Buildings Canada.

“An all-steel building is fireproof and can handle any sort of weather,” said Pfeifer.

“On top of its concrete base, in a tornado it would be the last building standing. With a steel building, we could get the structure up quickly and get the rink operational, then work on ways to raise money to complete the interior finishes later.”

Olympia worked closely with the town’s community recreation centre committee to design a structure to replace what had been lost to fire.

“The buildings are then manufactured by our sole supplier, Universal Steel Buildings Corp., in Pittsburgh,” said company vice-president Steve Wetmore.

“Even though we design the buildings here in Unionville, the shop drawings remain on the server in Pittsburgh to ensure that there are no glitches in transmitting design files to the manufacturing facility. It takes only seven weeks to manufacture all of the components of a building like this one — you can’t even get delivery of a set of custom shutters in under eight weeks.”

Once the components are manufactured, they’re placed on flatbed trucks and delivered across Canada, as far as Yukon and Nunavut.

The dimensions of the Lemberg building measure 85 feet wide by 230 feet long by 20 feet high at the eaves.

The building was also designed to meet a high occupancy load requirement and will be built with wider access doors to allow it to double as a venue for community events, including farm auctions.

“The cost of the building materials was about $148,000,” said Pfeifer.

“Assembling the building doubled the cost to just around $300,000.”

The assembly contractor for the building is Pug’s General Contracting of Comber, Ont. recommended by Olympia as a Universal Steel Buildings-certified installer.

The company specializes in steel and wood utility buildings and barns.

“Most of the work we do is in Ontario, but we took that job for a change of pace,” said company owner Peter Goertzen.

“We used four or five guys on the crew, including a few local workers. The construction is all bolted, with no welding, which simplifies installation.”

On this contract, the job will conclude with the application of interior insulation.

Construction time was estimated at about four weeks and began in late 2012, but was held up by fierce winter winds and temperatures of 40 below zero.

“At anything over 40 kilometres per hour, any large sheet of steel or insulation can fly away on you,” said Goertzen.

“But, we hope to be back in February to finish off the job.” >

by Peter Kenter

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