In late August, the university announced that the York Lions Stadium will be receiving a $8.2-million upgrade which includes a year-round dome.
The project is expected to be completed by spring 2021, at which point it will be one of the largest air dome facilities in the province. The facility also boasts Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)–quality turf, making it an internationally certified stadium for sports like rugby and soccer.
Measuring 112,500 square feet in playing surface and 75 feet in height, the air-supported dome will host a “seating capacity of 4,000 with additional seating that could increase the maximum capacity to 12,500,” according to a York Lions Stadium statement.
It is also our hope the stadium will increase our ability to create a more dynamic campus by enabling us to stage a variety of special events, such as the annual Orientation Welcome Ceremony, concerts and other entertainment opportunities.”
The Executive Director of Athletics & Recreation Jennifer Myers believes this project is a step forward towards building an “active and dynamic athletic precinct on the Keele campus to encourage all community partners to be more active and engaged.”
The purpose of the project is to improve the experience and training of the York Lions athletes, but also to allow for surrounding communities to use the facilities for recreation. The dome will be in place for five months out of the year.
However, the use of the stadium is expected to extend beyond sports, with intention to use it for various events. On August 21, Myers stated: “It is also our hope the stadium will increase our ability to create a more dynamic campus by enabling us to stage a variety of special events, such as the annual Orientation Welcome Ceremony, concerts and other entertainment opportunities.”
Why not spend it on, I don’t know, renovating the older facilities!”
The university hopes to host provincial and national sporting events, as York believes the advanced facility and accessible location has great potential for the future.
However, the project has gained some dissatisfaction from the York community, as students questioned whether or not this was a good investment for the university.
A student frustrated with the news of the dome being built responded: “Of all the things they can spend tuition money on, they decide to waste it on this?! How are they so laser focused on shit that doesn’t benefit the majority of the students who don’t use the athletic facilities? Why not spend it on, I don’t know, renovating the older facilities!”
The pandemic presents a unique opportunity to build on the York Lions stadium without any interference with the varsity teams, as all on-campus university activities and games have been cancelled until further notice.
Construction has been contracted to Chandos Construction which is a B-certified corporation, meaning they are a company that balances profit and purpose, leading to a more inclusive and sustainable economy. The project is well underway as work began on August 10.
A virtual ceremony will be held on September 17 at 12:00 p.m.