The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation and the Calgary Stampede have announced the team who will oversee the $500 million expansion of the BMO Centre.

Three architectural firms were chosen from a field of 12 companies who applied to lead parts of the process: Stantec, Populous and S2 Architecture.

Stantec is based in Edmonton, Populous’ headquarters is in Kansas City, Mo. and S2 has offices in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

“We have put together a team that I believe at the end of the day will build a product that’s not only going to meet the needs of an evolving convention centre market, but the needs of Calgary,” said Michael Brown, the president and CEO of CMLC.

To round out the expansion team, the CMLC has also hired convention venue operations specialist HLT Advisory Inc., project management firm M3 Development and construction management company PCL Construction.

The expansion will double the size of the BMO Centre, making it the second largest convention centre in Canada.

The federal, provincial and municipal governments have each committed $166.6 million for the project. An additional $3.9 million will come from the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Ltd.

Proponents expect the project to create 1,800 jobs during construction, and 500 full-time positions once it’s opened. The centre’s opening date is set for 2024, and construction has already begun.

Phase 1 includes the construction of the 100,000-square-foot Hall F, a new space intended to house some BMO Centre operations, while the rest of the centre is under construction. Hall F will open in spring 2020.

The expansion will require the demolition of the Stampede Corral, Archie Boyce Theatre and Hall A of the BMO Centre.

Stampede festivities won’t be disturbed by construction: CMLC

Brown said one of the biggest challenges for a project of this scale is sharing a construction site with the millions of people who visit Stampede Park each year. The construction team plans to build during the Calgary Stampede, but is aiming to reduce the impact on attendees.

“You need to be conscientious of the fact that you have Calgarians, people internationally, coming down to have a good time,” Brown said. “They are not wanting to be interrupted by a construction site.”

Brown said attendees won’t see crews bringing in heavy pieces of equipment and materials during the festivities. The necessary steel, rebar, concrete and electrical materials will be pre-loaded onto the site, well before the Stampede gets underway.

Dana Peers, president and chairman of the board of the Calgary Stampede, said the project is bigger than one building.

“It’s really about opening up this park to the entire city and the entire community on a year-round basis,” he said.

Several other projects have already been announced or proposed for the area around the Stampede grounds, including creating a level crossing at 17th Avenue.

“That will open up a historic gateway to this park,” said Peers. “That used to be the initial front gates to this park.”

Brown called the project a “spark,” to attract further investment in Calgary from the private sector.

“This is the start of I hope many, many announcements,” he said.