Calgary’s BMO Centre expansion marks massive steel structure completion

Ontario Construction News staff writer

With 9,000 metric tonnes of steel installed since December 2021, an Alberta construction project reached a milestone last week when the final 90-foot piece of steel was put in place at the BMO Centre in Calgary.

The structure of the BMO Centre’s 565,000 sq. ft. expansion now stands taller than the adjacent GMC Stadium and Saddledome on Stampede Park.

It was designed by architects at Stantec, Populous and S2 Architecture. PCL Construction and M3 Development Management are leading the construction project with the support of contractor and trades teams. RJC Engineers, in collaboration with Magnusson Klemencic Associates (MKA), as well as Walters Group, have been instrumental through the installation of the steel structure.

calgary pavillion“This is an exciting milestone in a major city-shaping project that has been expertly managed by CMLC and the whole project team,” said Stuart Dalgleish, General Manager of Planning and Development Services at The City of Calgary. “The expansion of the BMO Centre at Stampede Park furthers Calgary’s position as a thriving and dynamic hub for trade and tourism, advances our city’s economic resilience and position on the world’s stage, and represents a significant step toward realizing our vision for the Culture + Entertainment District, and our downtown transformation.”

It’s a $500 million expansion – funded in equal parts by the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta and The City of Calgary – and will double the centre’s capacity with more than 100,000 sq. ft. of new exhibition space, 38 new meeting rooms, two new ballrooms totalling 70,000 sq. ft.,  A dramatic central gathering space will be anchored by the largest indoor fireplace in Canada.

The steel that comprises the structure was fabricated in seven steel shops across Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan. In the ballrooms, steel spans are up to 180 ft. long and 19 ft. deep – the length and depth of an Olympic swimming pool – allowing for an impressive column-free space.

The building is also designed to support loads up to four times greater than typical assembly-type buildings, enabling the building to host any type of event imaginable. In fact, the load allowance in the exhibition hall allows for fully-loaded semi-trucks to be driven inside the building.

“We are thrilled with the progress we’re making on this important project and for what it means for Calgary,” said Kate Thompson, president and CEO of CMLC. “We’ve successfully navigated a volatile market and challenging supply chain to arrive at this critical project milestone on schedule, and to see the expanded BMO Centre take shape in Calgary’s emerging Culture + Entertainment District is a really positive indicator of the big things yet to come in the area.”

With the steel structure complete, crews will now focus on the building envelope and making the structure weather tight, before moving inside to install drywall, elevators, electrical systems, and finishings. The BMO Centre expansion will officially open in June 2024.


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