Heavy machinery has taken over the back parking lot of Kal Tire Place as work on the new arena begins.
Doug Ross, the City of Vernon's director of recreation services, said VVI Construction had started work in preparation for the multi-million dollar second sheet of ice at the multiplex.
VVI Construction Ltd. out of Kelowna was the lowest bidder on the project, coming in at $11,776,891.
“It's very close to our budget target,” said Ross. "With VVI breaking ground, the project is now officially underway. I would consider this shovels in the ground."
The city had budgeted $13 million for the project that will be built at the north end of the existing multiplex facility.
The arena is expected to take around 15 months to build and Ross said it is anticipated it will open in the fall of 2018.
According to the city, “The main floor will have a front lobby with administrative office, a concession, public washrooms, change room facilities and elevator. Service and storage rooms will also be located on the main floor level. The seating will be located on the second floor along with a dryland training facility and additional leasable space and connection to adjoining facility.”
In 2015, sports clubs campaigned for a new arena, fearful of an imminent failure of the 78-year-old Civic Arena which is being nursed along by city staff.