Training centre closer to reality

April 28, 2005, vol. 33, no. 1
By Diane Luckow

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SFU's vision for a national high performance sports training centre is one step closer to reality now that the provincial government has proffered $20 million towards the planned construction of a new athletic centre and stadium.

The idea for a national training centre first appeared in the university's bid for the Olympic skating oval, which was moved to the city of Richmond. But as SFU's director of recreation services Wilf Wedmann says, “If you lose an event, you get up and learn from the loss and do it again better the next time.”

The national training centre would be housed in a new $50-million athletic centre which will serve as the university's main facility for recreational sports, competitive athletics and indoor training. A $10-million stadium will include a concrete grandstand with partially covered seating for up to 2,000 people, portable seating for a further 2,000, washrooms, team lockers, concessions and artificial turf with stadium lighting and a scoreboard.

Once completed, the facility could host up to 70 major sporting and non-sporting events each year, involving 70,000 participants and spectators and generating $7 million in revenue.

“Our vision is to make SFU a national training centre for the next generation of Canadian Olympians and internationally competitive athletes,” says SFU President Michael Stevenson. “The national training centre, with its links to kinesiology, sport medicine, the new faculty of health sciences and the university's national team coaching, will take advantage of the synergies necessary for sustaining excellence in athletic training and performance.”

SFU must still raise the remaining $40 million in order to realize the project. “We're looking for $20 million in matching funds from the federal government,” says Wedmann, “as well as for corporate sponsorship and our own business model for revenues.”

Wedmann says the new facilities will also serve the recreational needs of SFU students, staff, and faculty, as well as those of the new residents in UniverCity.

He says, “This initiative is designed to be a quadruple win-win for Canadian sport, SFU recreation, UniverCity residents, and faculty researchers in the area of physical activity, health, and human performance.”

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