The new South Campus Athletic Training Facility will be a boon to University athletics—and to community sports teams.
The excitement surrounding the Edmonton 2001 World Championships in Athletics will linger long after the last competitor in the world's third largest sporting event has left the field. For much longer still, University of Alberta athletes as well as a broad cross section of the amateur sporting community in Edmonton—will benefit from the facility that will be the University's major legacy from the World's.
Tucked in behind the O.S. Longman Building and the Balmoral Curling Club, adjacent to the University's agricultural research station, the South Campus Athletic Training Facility (SCATF) will be a main training site during the IAAF championships. Afterwards it will be a multi-use facility accommodating interuniversity athletics—field hockey, football, soccer, track and field, and rugbyacademic classes, intramural athletics and campus recreation events, as well as community sports and recreation activities.
The dean of the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, Mike Mahon, '93 MSc, says his faculty is "ecstatic" about the new facility. "It allows us to bring together a number of athletic programs that have been dispersed all over—our soccer teams, for instance, have been over at Faculte Saint-Jean. And we haven't had a legitimate outdoor track-and-field site. We can now pull our teams together, and do so in a state-of-the-art facility."
Being built at a cost of just over $10 million (almost $8 million is coming from Edmonton 2001; the University is raising the remainder from the community), the SCATF comprises two separate athletic fields on either side of a multi-purpose indoor facility. Its east field, which will be the future home of the Golden Bears football team, is designed for both football and field hockey. It will be well lit and equipped with the latest generation of artificial turf—similar to that recently installed at some CFL stadiums. A four-lane, 125-metre warm-up runway will surround the playing surface.
The west field is designed to accommodate track-and-field training and competition. It features an eight-lane running track built to IAAF standards, as well as pole-vault and high-jump areas, long and triple-jump pits, and throwing areas for hammer, shot put, and discus. Inside the 400-metre running track is a natural-turf soccer field.
The viewing areas for each field are tied into a central building, which provides locker rooms, a press box, and a concession area. Other indoor facilities include classroom space, meeting rooms, and a high-performance weight-training area.
While the South Campus Athletic Training Facility will be a boon to the University and its athletes, it will also receive extensive use by the wider community, points out the physical education and recreation dean. The University has spent almost a year talking with a number of community groups, including both Edmonton school boards, to develop an operational model for shared use of the SCATF, and Mahon is pleased at the amount of community use the new facility will see.
The extent to which the community will be involved in the use of the SCATF is demonstrated by projections for annual use of the football field—which will be Edmonton's only football field with an artificial playing surface. While the Golden Bears will play six home games there, it is expected that teams from outside the University will play 72 games at the site. That includes eight junior games, 54 high school games, and 10 bantam football games.
"This is a facility that is going to make a real difference to us, and to the community," says Mahon. "It's going to be a real legacy. We couldn't be more excited about what it means to us."
Published Spring 2001.