Golden shovels pierced the ground on Tuesday morning, officially marking the start of construction for the new stadium at Simon Fraser University which is targeted to open in the summer of 2020.
SFU president Andrew Petter, VP student services of the Simon Fraser Student Society Samer Rihani, SFU senior director of athletics and recreation Theresa Hanson, alongside other university officials, stakeholders, dignitaries and student-athletes attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the new covered stadium to be built into the hillside of Terry Fox field.
Those days of angling for a good piece of hillside soil to catch the game are fading fast.
"The stadium is going to be a tremendous addition to campus life," said Andrew Petter. "Not only will it be a great place to come and watch some fabulous sports activities, and our football and soccer teams compete in the NCAA, but it will also mean the Terry Fox field can be used for other events like concerts or gatherings, as well as a whole bunch of student orientation events.
"I'm particularly proud of the fact that our students made a major contribution to allow this to happen."
The first ever permanent outdoor home for SFU Athletics, the stadium renovation – which is estimated to cost $15 million -- is expected to transform campus life by creating a vibrant meeting place where students, alumni and the community gather.
The stadium project is jointly funded by SFU and SFSS, with students voting in favour of a student levy needed to bring both projects to life. SFU is contributing $50,000 annually to the SFSS from 2016-2030 to assist undergraduate students (SFSS members) experiencing financial challenges due to the levy.
SFU’s football, soccer and track and field teams will be temporarily relocated for the 2019-20 season until construction is completed.
With construction being done by Chandos, featured amenities for the stadium will include seating for 1,800 spectators, an accessible concourse and washrooms, spectacular sightlines, broadcast and media facilities, an integrated sound system, a fully accessible VIP/sponsor box, coaches booths, improved access from the Lorne Davies Centre to the Terry Fox Field and Track, all covered by a roof canopy over top of a large portion of the seating.
As Canada's only university competing in NCAA, the stadium will play an instrumental role in supporting SFU student-athletes, and raise the profile of the University.
"It's not just going to be for athletes to come out and practice, it's going to give students a reason to come out to events," said Rihani. "It's going to give students a purpose to want to come out, regardless of weather and conditions. Our athletes are still going to be performing at that really high level, so we should have a stadium that is also at a high level as well."
The still-to-be-named SFU stadium is scheduled to be completed by August of 2020.