Members of the media received a sneak-peek tour Tuesday of how the state-of-the-art Merlis Belsher Place facility is coming along, with construction now 50 per cent complete and on track to open the doors this fall. The $42.9-million multi-sport complex will serve as the new home for Huskies hockey teams, as well as brand-new basketball practice facilities for the U of S teams. In addition, the new facility will welcome community groups, including offering a much-needed 1,500 hours of ice time annually for Saskatoon Minor Hockey teams.
“It is great to note that we are now halfway through construction, so if things keep progressing as they have, it is safe to say that we are actually a little ahead of schedule,” said U of S President Peter Stoicheff. “Merlis Belsher Place is such an important facility, not just for the university, but for our entire community. This is an exciting project and we are looking forward to opening this remarkable facility in the fall.”
President Stoicheff, major donor Merlis Belsher and Lorne Wright of Wright Construction, the local company completing the building, led the media tour of the new complex. Construction on Merlis Belsher Place, which will replace the aging Rutherford Rink that was built back in 1929, began in April of 2017 and is projected to be completed this fall, with the official grand opening celebrations expected in early 2019.
Belsher was thrilled to see first-hand the progress that has been made on the facility that will be named in his honour.
“It’s truly a multi-purpose facility, so I am overwhelmed, actually. It’s great,” said Belsher. “And I think the comment about the community and the City of Saskatoon, and their engagement to get behind it so (construction) could be commenced last May, I think that was critical to why we’re at this stage today … I never would have imagined, when I was first approached, that it would be this kind of a facility.”