The University of Saskatchewan’s Home Ice Campaign will have to wait until the end of February to find out whether they’re getting more support from city council for a new campus arena.
The Planning, Development and Community Services committee voted unanimously Monday to forward a request for $3 million in additional funding for Merlis Belsher Place to the full council meeting on Feb. 27.
Campaign chair Tim Hodgson said it was the result they were looking for out of the committee meeting.
“It’s an important issue for the city,” he said. “We’ve been given a good opportunity.”
Hodgson said the hope is the extra money will help the campaign reach their goal of $29 million in time for the U of S board of governors to approve construction in the spring.
“If we can get some shovels in the ground sooner rather than later, we can look at an opening in September 2018,” he said.
The city has already provided $1 million towards the project, though that was tabbed as money to explore future partnerships with the university.
The draw for council lies in community use of the $41-million facility.
The arena is set to feature a second ice pad dedicated to providing 1,500 ice-time hours for the Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association.
Minor hockey ice time has been a sore point for many parents in Saskatoon. The city hasn’t seen a new arena built since 1983, with few ice surfaces being added in the 34 years since.
An administration report presented to committee Monday laid out the cost of adding another sheet to the Gordie Howe-Kinsmen arena.
The estimate ranges between $6 million and $8 million, double what the Home Ice Campaign is asking for.
Admin cited the slope of the roof at the arena as one of the reasons for the high cost.
One additional ice sheet in the city is expected to fill ice-time needs until 2022, helping to avoid having children play hockey past 10:30 p.m. at night.