Stadium set in motion
By Paul-Mark Rendon
The contract for Western's new stadium has been approved, setting the wheels in motion for the 2001 Canada Games to be held in London.
In a meeting last Thursday, Western's property and finance committee approved the contract to build the stadium, which has been awarded to the Stanley Consulting Group.
The construction of the new facility is a joint venture between the 2001 London Alliance Canada Summer Games Host Society and Western.
Tim Sample, chief operating officer for the Host Society, confirmed plans were on schedule and fund-raising for the stadium is on track. "Things are going great, we've got a target of $15 million and we're into about $3 million right now," he said.
Phil Bowman, co-chair for the Host Society concurred. "Fund-raising is going very well and in November we will announce another corporate sponsor."
Sample said thus far, the project has enlisted the support of corporate sponsors Labatt Brewing Co., 3M and the London Free Press. The three sponsors have agreed to contribute at least $500,000 each, he said.
The Richard Ivey Foundation and the Lawson Foundation are some of the other groups being looked at for sponsorship, Sample said.
Orlando Zamprogna, special projects coordinator for Western's physical plant and capital planning services, reiterated plans were on track, as ground work will begin in May 1999. "We're well on target. We want to have it ready for July or August in [the year] 2000, one full year before the games," he said.
"For Western, this is an obvious upgrade to a much better playing field, much better stands and a much better track. The track we have right now is dismal," Zamprogna said.
He added the new stadium's playing surface will be artificial turf instead of grass, so it will be available for continuous use, generating revenue year-round.
Zamprogna said sports teams other than Western's football team will likely enjoy more fan support because of the new facility. "Teams such as the track and the field hockey teams are sure to benefit from the new facility."
Sample added the stadium has both long and short-term rewards. "Not only will it benefit athletes, but also the community because of all the people that will come together."