After months of anticipation, the design for the new home of the Saskatchewan Roughriders has been unveiled. The stadium does not have a full roof, but the building features sweeping lines and a design that architects say will cut down dramatically on wind.
The new city-owned building will continue to carry the name Mosaic Stadium for the next 20 years.
Slated to open in 2017, it will be double the size of the old stadium at 48,483 square metres, but will seat slightly fewer people. The features include:
- A total capacity of 33,000 seats, expandable to 40,000 (the current stadium seats 33,327).
- 50 cm seats in the stands, about 5 cm wider than those in the old stadium.
- Nine elevators.
- Five entry points,
- 200 concessions.
- 38 bathrooms (the current stadium has 22).
Architects say the design, which features a curved roof designed to handle Saskatchewan snowfalls, will also cut down on the effects of prevailing winds.
"We have opened the last three very successful stadiums in the NFL and I will put this design pound for pound with anything that we have done," Mark Williams of HKS Sports and Entertainment, a U.S.-based architectural firm, said Thursday at the unveiling event in Regina.
Officials at the unveiling said they expect positive reactions to the design.
"Once we get into this stadium, people are going to say 'I love it,"' predicted Roughriders president and CEO Jim Hopson. "I love the fact that it is outdoors still, but we're getting some protection from the wind, from the driving rain and so on."
Construction is to begin in June with a completion target of August 2016. Officials said a number of trial events would be held in the building before being put into full operation, at full capacity, in 2017.
Cost of stadium remains fixed
The $278-million stadium was announced in July of 2012 and will be built on the city's exhibition grounds, known as Evraz Place.
Money for the 33,000-seat facility will come from:
- $80 million grant from the province of Saskatchewan.
- $73 million from the city of Regina.
- $25 million generated by such things as naming rights, to be coordinated by the Saskatchewan Roughriders Football Club.
- $100 million loan, from the province, to be paid down over 30 years through a $12 per ticket facility fee tacked onto each football game or any other event at the new stadium.
Regina taxpayers will see regular annual increases to their property taxes in order to generate money for the city's contribution to the construction tab.
Officials have repeatedly promised the stadium will be built on time and within the construction budget.
Deputy city manager Brent Sjoberg says if costs rise, some elements of the stadium design will be adjusted to keep within the budget.
Officials have also insisted the facility be roof-ready. They said Thursday that adding a retractable roof, at a later date, would cost $350 million. A fixed roof would cost $200 million.
Marlene Stanicky, a long time Rider fan who checked out the design Thursday morning, liked what she saw and was hopeful a roof would be added.
"I won't have to put up with as much wind and I'll have an individual seat," Stanicky noted. "And hopefully before it's finished being built they'll have a roof on it."
The current facility, Mosaic Stadium, will be demolished once the new facility is open. The city plans to redevelop the land into a mix of residential and other uses.