Campus Life

Additional dollars to complete stadium project

The partnerships needed to construct the University of Lethbridge's Regional Stadium and Field Complex were on full display this past weekend when a major funding hurdle was cleared with help of the Alberta provincial government.

Minister of Culture and Community Spirit, Lindsay Blackett, was in Lethbridge to announce an additional $1.3 million investment in the facility, allowing the University to complete the project to the full scope it had intended.

"Sports and recreation are important aspects of community connectedness," said Blackett to a crowd of onlookers that included members of potential user groups, University supporters and City of Lethbridge representatives. "This new multi-use sports field complex will provide athletes and spectators alike with a gathering place to share their love of sport."

Funds will assist with the construction of the sports complex, including a new football/soccer field, track and field facilities, and a 2,000-seat grandstand. The new complex will help meet the sport and recreational needs of Lethbridge and surrounding communities.

"Lethbridge and its neighbouring communities are in need of a new sports complex," said Greg Weadick, MLA Lethbridge-West.

"Southern Alberta has a long-standing tradition of excellent local football programs and this new stadium will provide the opportunity for both players and spectators to be part of continued growth of community sports programs in a modern facility. A number of communities, organizations and individuals worked together on this important project, and I want to thank everyone for their hard work and co-operation."

"We are very pleased the Government of Alberta has chosen to invest an additional $1.3 million in this significant community project," University of Lethbridge President Bill Cade said.

"Their financial support allows us to put the finishing touches on this facility, and to present a high-quality asset to the community. We are looking forward to hosting our first high school football game in mid-September, and also to having our University track and field, soccer and national championship women's rugby team having an excellent place to play and call home."

The facility is slated to be open for play later this summer with the first major events being the start of the Southern Alberta High School Football League schedule. The facility's grand opening weekend is Sept. 25-26.

The provincial government has contributed a total of $3.3 million to the project (the first $2 million was presented in 2008) from its Major Community Facilities Program (MCFP). Started in 2007-08, the MCFP was a two-year $280-million lottery-funded program that helped municipalities, not-for-profit organizations and Aboriginal communities plan, upgrade or build major public-use facilities that enhance community life.

The funds were provided on a matching basis, meaning a great deal of community support was required to make the grant possible.

The Government of Alberta has a wide variety of community investment programs that create stronger and safer communities.