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Varsity Stadium Update


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Not sure how much of this is new, but here it is. With that winter bubble, sounds like a good early/late season training facility for Toronto FC. Heck, if the Lynx try to stick around, it'd be a good place for them next season too.


Varsity Stadium construction slow but steady

Building to be done in phases


May. 24, 2006

The shovels are in the ground and the foundation is being laid but building a stadium from the ground up may take more time than originally anticipated.

While the much talked about reconstruction of Varsity Stadium began late last year, the process has been slow, in assuring that everything is done properly.

"We are moving along," said Bruce Kidd, dean of physical education at the University of Toronto. "We haven't awarded all the contracts yet."

Kidd explained that the process is "complicated" and the construction schedule is not quite yet finalized.

Originally slated to open for September of this year, Kidd said it was more likely to be sometime in the fall.

"The fall is a long period," said Kidd. "That's a pretty broad window."

"We want this to be an excellent facility and have taken a little more time to make sure we have it absolutely right," he added.

Reconstruction of Varsity Stadium has been discussed at length at the university over the last few years and was a project Kidd hoped to see finished before he retired from his position as dean.

Many failed attempts to form partnerships (with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment in 2003, and with the Toronto Argonauts and the Canadian Soccer Association in 2004), for a 25,000-seat stadium have resulted in a smaller scale stadium funded largely by the University and a capital campaign.

The complete project is expected to cost $56 million, and the University is spending $16.3 million on the project, leaving a $40 million gap to fundraise.

The construction will be completed in phases, with a 5,000-seat grandstand, state-of-the-art artificial surfaced playing field, an eight-lane track, change rooms, lighting and an electronic scoreboard as part of the first phase while the second phase will include an all-weather bubble for winter playing.

The third and fourth stages which include a four-storey building with teaching and training facilities and significant improvements to Varsity Arena, will be funded by the $40-million capital campaign.

According to Kidd, two co-chairs have been chosen to head up the campaign, both are former athletes and students from the University of Toronto - Gordon Cunningham and Karen Petre.

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