Queen’s Board of Trustees has approved the multi-million dollar revitalization of Richardson Stadium, the University announced Monday.
The project has been ratified at a cost of $20.27 million, which will be used to construct a new football stadium for the first time in over 40 years.
Construction is expected to start at the end of the 2015 Gaels season, according to a statement by the University, and should be complete by fall 2016.
Principal Daniel Woolf said Tuesday that he was pleased with the board’s decision.
“The current stadium is over 40 years old and desperately in need of revitalization, so I’m very, very glad that they’ve allowed us to proceed,” Woolf said. “I think it will be a very good thing both for sports at the University and indeed for the larger Kingston community.”
Athletics Director Leslie Dal Cin was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
Former Gaels football player and current Guelph Gryphons head coach Stu Lang kickstarted the project with a $10 million donation in March. Just over $17 million was raised in total donations, and the University contributed a further $3 million to complete the funding.
The new stadium will sit on the same site as the current stadium — meaning any construction will have to be done outside of football season, which generally runs from early September to mid-November.
Woolf said the University is optimistic they’ll be able to complete all construction between the end of the 2015 season and the start of the following one.
“I can’t obviously predict that far in advance, but the short answer is the intent is to be open for opening day on the 2016 season,” he said.
When asked if Queen’s has a contingency plan in place in case the new stadium isn’t ready by the 2016 season, Woolf said he saw “no reason to think that [the deadline] would not be met, provided we keep the discussions moving along at the current pace.”
The current Richardson Stadium opened on West Campus in 1971. The upper seating tiers on the east and west sides of the stadium were deemed unfit for use in May 2013; those bleachers were removed and replaced with temporary metal stands later that summer.
The new stadium will have an approximate capacity of 9,000 spectators, according to the statement. The current stadium could house 10,258 spectators, prior to the condemnation of the upper bleachers.
Richardson will continue to be the home of the Gaels football team after construction is complete. Both men’s and women’s soccer will make the move from Miklas-McCarney Field, which is situated next to the football stadium.
Plans for the new stadium include the introduction of artificial turf, a new scoreboard and bowl-style seating. Temporary bleachers will be in place at the north end of the stadium; further funding is needed to build a permanent pavilion to complete the bowl.
This story was updated at 6:55 p.m. on Dec. 9.
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