Stadium still standing

Built in 1971, Richardson Stadium needs upgrades, says varsity football coach Pat Sheahan

Richardson Stadium turns 40 this year but facility improvements are still on hold due to financial limitations.

The west campus venue houses over 10,000 seats and is home to the football team, as well as both men’s and women’s soccer. It was first built as a temporary arena in 1971 but became the University’s main stadium permanently when space ran out.

Richardson could soon see another tenant in prospect Kingston FC—a start-up soccer franchise with the Canadian Soccer League. Richardson is one of several Queen’s facilities that could be the franchise’s home.

“It’s near the end of its time and it needs a fair amount of repair,” said Queen’s Athletics Associate Director Herb Steacy.

Steacy said Athletics wants to balance gender change rooms, improve stadium lighting and seating, build more visitor change rooms, add showers, create a larger study area for athletes, update the athlete therapy area and resurface the field with artificial turf.

In 2005, University officials told the Journal that plans for a Richardson renovation were in the works.

Steacy said the project is still being discussed and Athletics is looking to find ways to bring in funding over the next three to five years. Construction on a new turf field on west campus is expected to be complete this fall and main campus’ Kingston Field will be switched to artificial turf by 2012.

Steacy said eventually converting Richardson’s grass to artificial turf would reduce the stadium’s maintenance requirements.

“Not only did the synthetic field give more to our own teams but it gives us more usage for members of the Kingston community,” Steacy said.

Last season, two men’s soccer games were moved to Tindall Field because inclement weather had rendered the field at Richardson unusable.

Kelly Smith, Athletics home event coordinator, said although Richardson Stadium is about a 20-minute walk from main campus, football games have seen good turnouts. She said most challenges come from the facility itself.

“The alumni side and the student side aren’t attached and since we are not allowed to cross the track, it can be a bit challenging at times to move around,” she said.

Varsity football coach Pat Sheahan said the stadium needs better lighting and stronger sound systems in order to make Queen’s games attractive for broadcast media.

“We want to have something that matches the quality of the sport and something that Queen’s can be proud of.”

Sheahan said outdated facilities at Richardson are a turnoff for prospective recruits.

“A good facility is fundamental to the excellence of the sport,” he said.

The veteran coach also said improving lighting conditions would bring benefits for home games.

“We could have Friday night football games,” he said. “Wouldn’t that be something?”

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