When its forty-four-year-old ice arena was condemned due to safety concerns, the construction of the Upper Skeena Recreation Centre, built of heavy timber and wood-frame construction, delivered efficiency, innovation, and hope to this remote northern region.
Complete with an NHL-sized ice rink with seating for five hundred spectators, a full-sized gymnasium with a fitness room, and areas for cultural programs, the facility’s construction was initiated by local residents and is designed to be more than a place to play sports—it provides a safe place to come together and strengthen their sense of community.
The facility’s exposed wood roof, supported by glue-laminated timber beams and columns, represents an economical framing solution. Simplified construction methods for the roof and exterior walls, which are made with plywood and dimension lumber, deliver further cost savings. To speed construction, the wood wall and roof panels were prefabricated by local workers and then dropped in place for rapid assembly.
This all-wood solution delivers a structural performance and ease of installation that is comparable to steel, with the added benefits of aesthetic warmth, natural insulation, carbon sequestration, and locally sourced materials and labour. The practical yet beautiful wood structure was made possible through grassroots community involvement and gives the region a focal point of pride that will last for decades to come.