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Detailed design of Orillia’s new recreation facility now complete

Posted on Monday February 01, 2016
Orillia Recreation Facility gymnasium rendering

For immediate release (Feb. 1, 2016) – The City of Orillia has completed the detailed design phase of the Orillia Recreation Facility project at 255 West St. S. and is now preparing for construction of the building this summer.

At its meeting on Feb. 1, 2016, Council Committee reviewed and received as information the detailed design and initial costing estimate for the project, which includes an aquatic centre, gymnasiums, multi-purpose rooms, a walking/jogging track, preschool room, office space and a fitness centre. The City will now proceed with the construction documentation and tendering phase of the project. All Council Committee recommendations must be ratified by Council at its meeting on Feb. 8, 2016.

“Orillia’s Recreation Facility project is really starting to take shape and Council is excited about what this facility and overall site will mean for the future health and development of Orillia,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “This project will connect the community not only physically through the Lightfoot trail system, but also figuratively as it serves as the social heart of the city. We are eager for its construction to begin this summer.”

The following milestones were achieved during the detailed design phase:

  • Established the building’s foundation type as rammed aggregate piers;
  • Design refinements made to the interior space programme and exterior finish of the building;
  • Continued to meet with major user groups in Orillia to review conceptual designs and get feedback;
  • Soil Management Plan, Health and Safety Plan, Environmental Impact Study completed;
  • As of the end of January 2016, a majority of the site has been cleared of all plant material and trees, including invasive species such as Phragmites.
  • Environmental monitoring wells decommissioned; pertinent wells for annual monitoring program remain in place.
  • Site Plan Approval submitted to the City’s Development Services Department for review.
  • All work has been completed in compliance with the Certificate of Property Use (CPU) for the site.

Council Committee also reviewed the high-level costing of the project prepared by Turner & Townsend, an independent cost consultant retained by project architects MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller (MJM). This preliminary building and site construction cost estimate came in at $51.6 million, which is marginally higher than the allotted $50.6 million budget.

Although, the current building and site construction cost estimate is higher, it is just that – an estimate, as there are a number of variables that will firm up the costs as the City gets closer to construction.

Factors affecting cost include pressures such as the lower Canadian dollar, which is approximately 20% lower than one year ago.  However, lower oil prices and the competitiveness of the construction market may off-set some of these cost pressures. While the “Class B” costing estimate is more substantive than the earlier costing estimate, it remains a high-level estimate and will continue to be refined as the construction documentation is prepared.

“The Recreation Project Team is confident that with further refinement of the building’s design, this project can be brought in line with the allocated budget without affecting the overall program,” said Ray Merkley, Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture. “We will continue to work diligently with MJM throughout this next phase to keep the project on time and on budget. It’s important to remember that this preliminary cost estimate is still early in the process and there will be two more estimates completed before the project goes to tender.”

It is anticipated that the construction documentation and tendering phase will be completed in June 2016 with a tender being awarded to a pre-qualified contractor in July 2016.

The City of Orillia is a city of 31,000 people in the heart of Ontario’s Lake Country on the shores of Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe. Visit our website at


Ray Merkley
Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture

Jennifer Ruff
Manager of Communications
705- 238-9209 (cell)