New stadium awaits final donations

With $6-8 million left to raise, Queen’s is meeting with design firm to plan football team’s future home

Ideally ready for the 2015 season, the new stadium will seat roughly 10,000 and become a focal point of the University’s plans for West Campus revitalization.
Ideally ready for the 2015 season, the new stadium will seat roughly 10,000 and become a focal point of the University’s plans for West Campus revitalization.
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Former Gaels receiver Stu Lang made a $10 million donation towards Richardson Stadium. Above, bleachers in the current stadium.
Former Gaels receiver Stu Lang made a $10 million donation towards Richardson Stadium. Above, bleachers in the current stadium.
Photo: 

Stu Lang’s gift was just the first step towards Queen’s new stadium.

Coming off the heels of the Guelph football coach’s $10 million donation in March, the University has received additional pledges ­— enough to cover roughly 75 per cent of the stadium’s estimated $25 million cost, according to Vice-Principal of Advancement Tom Harris.

One month after Lang’s initial donation, the Richardson Foundation pledged $5 million towards the stadium. Since then, Harris said, the University has been in contact with several donors, whose donations are awaiting approval from the Board of Trustees.

“We know these are people that we count on — they’re reliable, trustworthy, all those things,” Harris said. “We have no doubts about their intentions.”

Harris said the University is $6-8 million away from their goal, once money from the pending donors is included.

There’s no established timeline on when construction would begin, but Harris said the new stadium would ideally be ready for the start of the 2015 season.

“The upfront work, that is the design, the consultation and the fundraising are the things we’re focusing on now,” he said. “You have to decide, at some point, the things you want to do and the things you can afford to do.”

Harris said the University is currently working with a design firm and physical contractor to design the complex, which will seat around 10,000 — about the same as the current stadium, prior to the condemnation of the upper west bleachers last summer.

No design plans have been announced as of yet, but Harris said Queen’s is about a month away from publicly revealing some of the details.

According to Harris, the Richardson family hasn’t been involved in talks about plans for the new stadium.

“They’re captivated by the vision of what we can accomplish,” he said. “The Richardson Foundation basically said ‘proceed in the project’ but they’re very arms-length with this.”

Lang, meanwhile, has been involved to an extent in how the stadium will be designed.

“Mr. Lang is more involved in the sort of defined vision for this,” Harris said. “We’re working collectively as a team on this, as a partnership on design elements and things like that.”

A former Gaels wide receiver in the 1970s, Lang was part of the group that helped bring in the Richardson Foundation’s donation, alongside Principal Daniel Woolf.

Lang confirmed in an interview with the Journal that the new complex would still be known as Richardson Stadium.

One of the major reasons for Lang’s donation was the state of the current stadium. As Guelph’s head coach, he witnessed first-hand what Richardson looked like last season, calling it “disheartening”.

“I planned to do something anyways, and you don’t often get to choose the times in your life,” Lang said. “Even though I’m competing against Queen’s, the time was appropriate to provide a gift to kickstart the campaign.”

Lang said during the course of finalizing design plans, he’s come to Kingston to discuss the architectural feel of the new stadium. He said he’s also met with Gaels football coach Pat Sheahan to see what his counterpart wants heading forward.

In Lang’s conversations with Principal Woolf, he said, there was discussion of using a new Richardson Stadium as the linchpin of West Campus revitalization.

“He went as far as talking about re-naming it because West Campus talks about separation and distance,” Lang said. “I think the goal of the stadium is to bring [West Campus] more on campus, in a sense.”

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