Queen's Board of Trustees has approved the Richardson Stadium revitalization project, at a cost of $20.27 million. The board made the decision at its December meeting. Construction of the stadium is expected to begin after the Gaels' 2015 football season, and completed by fall 2016. The revitalization is the latest phase of the Fields & Stadium project supporting athletics and recreation through the construction of Nixon, Tindall, and Miklas-McCarney fields.
Plans for the revitalization were kicked off in March with the announcement of a $10 million pledge to the stadium project from Queen's alumnus and former Gael Stu Lang and his wife Kim. That announcement was followed by news of a $5 million contribution from the Richardson Foundation. Other donors have also come forward to contribute to the project, bringing the total amount raised to more than $17 million. The university will contribute an additional $3 million for infrastructure support of the stadium, bringing the total funding to $20.27 million.
"I am very pleased that the board has approved the plan to proceed with a very exciting project for both the Queen's and Kingston communities," says Principal Daniel Woolf. "A revitalized stadium will be a point of pride and further enhance health and wellness at Queen's as well as the competitiveness of several of our sports programs."
With board approval, the university will engage the Queen's and Kingston communities in discussions around the stadium. A website dedicated to the project will be launched in early January, and public meetings will be held to solicit feedback.
The new stadium, which will be amongst the top facilities of its kind in Ontario, will include an artificial turf field, state-of-the-art scoreboard, and bowl-style seating. Temporary stands will be installed at the north end of the stadium, pending additional fundraising for a pavilion that will complete the bowl design. The revitalized stadium will be in the same location as the current stadium, and have a similar capacity of approximately 9,000. It will be home to the Queen's soccer and football teams, and used by a number of other teams and clubs.
The Fields & Stadium Cabinet is chaired by Paul and Vicki Hand.
"We are incredibly grateful to our generous benefactors for making the dream of a revitalized Richardson Stadium a reality," says Tom Harris, Vice-Principal (Advancement). "Without philanthropic support, this project would not be happening."
The current stadium is in urgent need of revitalization. Originally built as a temporary facility more than 40 years ago, parts of the stadium date back to 1920, and it no longer meets the needs of student-athletes and spectators. In 2013, following an engineering report, sections of bleachers at the stadium were decommissioned and replaced with temporary seating. Without a revitalization the stadium would continue to deteriorate to the point where the university would have to invest significant resources to repair or renovate the existing structure.
"A revitalized stadium will be extremely beneficial to the health and wellness of all of our student-athletes, from varsity teams to recreational programs, and also be a great asset to our community partners," says Leslie Dal Cin, Executive Director, Athletics and Recreation.
More details about the stadium's design will be released as community engagement moves forward.
Source: Queen's Gaels