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SFU Scores $20 million for New Facilities

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SFU Scores $20 million for New Facilities

BURNABY – A provincial investment of $20 million will help Simon Fraser University (SFU) continue its tradition of athletic excellence with the construction of a new athletic centre and stadium, Premier Gordon Campbell announced today. See an artist rendering of the new stadium on Terry Fox Field and the national training centre in an attached PDF.

“SFU has a proud history of training some of Canada's best young athletes, a history the province wants to help build on as we prepare for 2010,” said Campbell. “Supporting athletic infrastructure projects such as this one, which will support a culture of fitness on campus and in the community of Burnaby, is a critical part of our commitment to promote sport and healthy living throughout B.C.”

The project, which SFU estimates will cost a total of $60 million, consists of two components:

A $50 million athletic centre that would serve as the main facility for recreational sports and competitive athletics as well as an indoor training facility and national high performance training centre.

A $10 million stadium on Terry Fox Field, including a concrete grandstand with partially covered seating for 2,000, portable seating for another 2,000, washrooms, team lockers, concession and artificial turf with stadium lighting and a scoreboard. Once complete, the university predicts the facility will be capable of hosting up to 70 major sporting and non-sporting events a year involving 70,000 participants and spectators and generating $7 million in economic impact in the Burnaby and the Tri-Cities communities.

The Clan football team has never played a home game on campus and currently plays its home games at Swangard Stadium. The Clan soccer teams split their games between Swangard and Terry Fox Field.

“Our government has come to the table to give this project a head start because we recognize the value of building infrastructure that supports the economic and physical well-being of British Columbians,” said Harry Bloy, MLA for Burquitlam. “This multi-sport facility has long been a vision for SFU and I am confident it will prove to be a tremendous legacy for Burnaby and beyond.”

“Our vision is to make SFU a national training centre for the next generation of Canadian Olympians and internationally competitive athletes,” said Michael Stevenson, President of SFU. “With its links to kinesiology, sport medicine, the new Faculty of Health Sciences and the national team coaching that is already in place at SFU on Burnaby Mountain, the national training centre will take advantage of synergies that are necessary to sustaining excellence in athletic training and performance.”

Provincial funding for SFU’s proposed fitness centre and stadium comes from the Major Post-Secondary Sports Training Facilities Initiative, which funds infrastructure projects that provide British Columbians with increased opportunities to participate in sports and physical activity.

The 2005/06-2007/08 budget and fiscal plan committed $60 million towards the Major Post-Secondary Sports Training Facilities Initiative; however, at this time, government has legal authority for six months of spending under Interim Supply. Government will seek legislative approval for the full year amounts in the fall.

"This generous investment will help us to realize our dream of making Simon Fraser University the centre of sports in this country,” said SFU Director of Recreation and Athletics Wilf Wedmann.

Today’s announcement is another in a series of investments that is changing the face of SFU recreation, athletics and community facilities. The university recently began construction on a $16 million fitness centre and gym complex scheduled for completion in 2006 which will become the new home of the basketball Clan. Last year the Whitecaps FC invested $3 million in developing new turf fields with lights on campus that will be home to the Whitecaps men’s and women’s teams and a national training centre of Canada’s national soccer programs.

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Yes, it sounds very nice. You'll pardon my cynicism though. The news item is just a very slight rewrite of a press release from the BC Liberal government -- one of 91 press releases filled with spending promises that the provincial government has put out in the past 11 days in order to promote their re-election. (There's an election here May 17.) I'm all in favor of more athletic facilities, but I gag at BC Liberal politicians using the BC public service and my money to tell me how wonderful their government is.

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