BC place gets major facelift by 2011 - retractable roof

[url=http://www.tsn.ca/cfl/story/?id=237961&lid=headline&lpos=topStory_cfl]http://www.tsn.ca/cfl/story/?id=237961& ... pStory_cfl[/url]


Aging B.C. Place Stadium will receive a major facelift to keep the facility viable for the next 30 years, but the centrepiece of the project, a new retractable roof, won't be installed until after the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell lavished praise on the government-owned facility and its benefits, but was laconic when it came to discussing how much the renovations and roof will cost.

''The final budget has not been determined,'' Campbell told a news conference Friday. ''We have to look at all the benefits as well as the costs.

''We think it's important for the taxpayers to get the full and detailed business plan in place.''

It's estimated a retractable roof will cost at least $150 million.

Campbell also announced plans for a new 29,000-square-metre art gallery to be built near B.C. Place on False Creek. The Liberal government has already committed $50 million towards its cost.

Upgrades to the stadium will occur in two phases. Renovations to suites, seating, washrooms and concessions stands, plus enhancement of the existing roof liner, will occur before the Olympics.

David Podmore, chairman of the BC Pavilion Corp., which oversees operation of the stadium, said it isn't feasible to have the new roof completed in time for the Games.

''We'd be rushing it,'' said Podmore. ''I couldn't look at you and tell you we've got the best value for our money.

''We concluded it's much better to take the time and complete the design in an orderly way.''

Once the renovations are completed the Vancouver Whitecaps soccer team will begin playing games at B.C. Place.

The Whitecaps, who currently play in the United Soccer Leagues, plan to apply for a Major League Soccer franchise. The team also will continue to pursue plans to build a 20,000-seat stadium on the Vancouver waterfront.

John Furlong, chief executive officer with the Vancouver Olympic Games Organizing Committee (VANOC), said he isn't bothered that the new roof won't be in place for Olympics. The 60,000-seat facility will host the Games opening and closing ceremonies

''We had always been planning like we wouldn't have one,'' said Furlong. ''We're fine with it and I think that the decision is the right one.

''We will have the stadium in the best form it can be in. It will be more comfortable, it will be more accessible. I think everything will be upgraded.''

Harry Bains, the provincial NDP Olympic critic, chastised the government for not acting on a 2006 report that called for a new roof.

''Had they acted on that report in 2006 we would have this roof replaced before the Olympics (and) we would have this roof much cheaper,'' said Bains.

''What guarantee do we have that this patched-up roof isn't going to collapse during the Olympics or before the Olympics?'''

B.C. Place, which opened in 1983 as the first covered stadium in Canada, is currently home to the B.C. Lions of the CFL, plus trade shows and concerts.

The future of the building, which sits on prime downtown real estate, has been questioned. The seats are hard, the concrete interior drab, and the building becomes hot and noisy during games.

The stadium's marshmallow-shaped, air-support roof, which covers about four hectares, collapsed in January, 2007 but has since has been repaired.

There have been calls for a new, open-air stadium but it's estimated building a new facility would cost around $1.2 billion. That price doesn't include the needed infrastructure, roads and services.

''It's not sustainable to knock a facility down and start rebuilding it again,''' said Campbell. ''We need to be sure it fits into the city's fabric.''

Podmore said the new roof will have a similar design to the roof on a stadium in Frankfurt, Germany. It will be a tension-fabric roof with a 25-metre by 85-metre opening in the centre.

It will be suspended by tension cables and a series of 35 masts, 50-metres in length, built around the perimeter of the stadium.

''It is very functional and very suited to the particular design of B.C. Place,'' said Podmore. ''The building will be a much more comfortable atmosphere for events, games, and trades shows. It will be a much more efficient system and a much more attractive system.''

B.C. Lions centre Angus Reid said he's excited about the idea of playing games in an open-air stadium.

''It's a better feeling,'' said Reid, a Richmond, B.C., native. ''Nothing can beat playing games in natural light and natural noise and wind and all the fun stuff that football is truly meant to be played in.''

Podmore said money for the renovations will be generated from the sale of development rights on land Pavilion Corp. owns around B.C. Place. Other funds will come from existing corporation cash reserves plus sponsorship revenues.

He said too early to say how much the renovations will cost.

''We have about five months of engineering and detailed work to do to get to the point to give you a budget that will be a fixed budget for this work,'' said Podmore.

''We wouldn't present the budget until we have the opportunity to complete the engineering, complete some of the tendering of various components of the building and present a complete business plan.''

Can't wait for the renovated BC Place. New roof, hi definition scoreboards, nicer concourses and washrooms, all 60,000 seats replaced with comfier, padded ones. It's going to be a premier sports venue in Canada.

Hats off to the People involved in this . Not only are they saving the Tax payers tons of money they are also saving the environment as well and the Traffic nightmare that would come with building a new Stadium.

I like the renos. Glad they went for it rather than tear it down for condos!

I see that the CBC article as below shows an artists rendition and the sport shown on the facing of the building in one of the photo's - yup, soccer, no football. Interesting.


Could have been worse Earl, the CBC artist could have drawn Nick & Relic of the Beachcombers.

Not worth getting worked up over.

True enough Sporty. Just thought I'd mention this though at any rate.

Earl, check out www.bcplacestadium.com

The pictures there have the Lions on the facing of the building as well as many other pictures.


Thanks Roar, nice!! Man, what a difference it makes to see the sky and that, a total transformation of the building. Artistis renditions but still. This would put the stadium right up there. And also, even though the RC isn't as good for football sightlines wise, since it's more multipurpose with baseball in mind, the RC will be good for a long time since it is retractable.

Earl, the sightlines are great. Even on the upperdeck (which I don't mind from time to time) the view is great.

How about them mountains in the back ground! :lol:

It looks pretty good, any chance of that being in place before the 2010 Olympics?

heres for people like me, who couldnt stand bcplace.com’s rotating pics.



Looks pretty cool. And I’m glad they decided not to rush the retractable roof. Probably end up saving B.C. a lot of cash. Hope it all works out!

im guessing the grey cup game will be in BC very shortly after these renovations.

Darn, cant see the North Shore Mountains through the hole! :wink: :wink:

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Nice to see our provincal government shell out the money for this. It would be nice to see some other provinces do the same.

Sporty, mean't that the sightlines at the Rogers Centre aren't as good as BC Place probably (never been to BC Place).

That article is wrong. Montreals BIG O was Canadas first domed stadium.

I think it has to be actually have the roof on to count.

Olympic Stadium didn't get its roof till the late 80's. BC Place already had its roof since 1983.