Architecture49 initially assisted the City of Belleville in preparing a feasibility study on how to expand, renovate and upgrade their existing 1970’s era Yardmen Arena, by increasing the seating capacity and adding new amenities required to operate either an OHL or an AHL professional hockey team. During the study phase there were a few prospective owners interested in moving their teams to Belleville which was finally narrowed down to a negotiation with the Ottawa Senators’ who were planning to relocate their AHL affiliate, the Binghamton Senators, closer to Ottawa for the start of the 2017-2018 season.
To meet the AHL requirements, A49 redesigned the existing Yardmen Arena, an outdated complex that had an Olympic sized rink, fixed seating for 3,200 people and undersized dressing rooms. To accommodate the AHL team, the rink was reduced to an NHL size pad, seating was increased to 4,400 seats by expanding the arena and adding a new North seating tier for 850 people, expanding to the West to create space for a new 9,000 SF Home Team dressing room, renovating existing dressing rooms to create a larger Visitors dressing room, adding 10 Private Suites, 8 Theatre Boxes, a Fan Deck, and 4 new concessions. As well, all mechanical and electrical systems were upgraded and a new state-of-the-art LED scoreboard was added.
The design combines functionality of an accessible, working multiuse spectator arena with a design that puts a new contemporary façade on the building. Dressing rooms, concourses and new areas in the arena are all wheelchair accessible.