University of Alberta asks province for $20M to build South Campus arena

The fate of two new ice rinks at the University of Alberta’s South Campus depends on investment from the provincial government, says the dean of the school’s faculty of kinesiology, recreation and sport.

Plans for the new facility also include classrooms, high performance training centre

This rendering shows what the exterior of the University of Alberta's new South Campus arena could look like. (Jocelyn Love/University of Alberta)

The fate of a pair of new ice rinks for the University of Alberta's South Campus rests on investment from the provincial government, says a dean at the school.

Staff at the university have secured about $45 million of the $65 million required to build two ice rinks southwest of the Saville Community Sports Centre and they hope the provincial government will chip in the rest.

"We're in discussion and our fingers are crossed," Kerry Mummery told CBC's Radio Active on Monday. Mummery is the dean of the U of A's faculty of kinesiology, sport and recreation.

The university has raised nearly $25 million from donors and received a $20-million commitment from the City of Edmonton.

Discussions with officials in the provincial government are ongoing and encouraging, Mummery said.

"We're awaiting their decision, which we hope will be this fall."

One of the new rinks would become the new home of the Golden Bears and Pandas, who currently play at the Clare Drake Arena on the university's North Campus. That arena will remain in use after the new one opens, Mummery said.

The other rink would be a smaller community facility.

Plans for the future arena also include space for classrooms, meetings and other activities.

The proposed design includes space for two ice rinks: one for the university's varsity teams and another for community members. (Jocelyn Love/University of Alberta)

Central to the design is a high-performance training centre and sport institute that would serve university and community athletes in northern Alberta.

Before returning to the U of A, where he earned his PhD in physical education and sport studies, Mummery taught in Australia and worked with the Australian Institute of Sport and the Queensland Academy of Sport.

Such an institute in Edmonton would train coaches, sport scientists and competitive athletes, he said.

"It's very much needed now as people aspire to national and international levels of competition."

The new centre would be a larger version of the sport performance centre that currently operates within the Saville Community Sports Centre. 

The City of Edmonton and the university last sought community feedback on the project in the summer of 2016. Sixty-two per cent of respondents said they supported the partnership at the time, but residents raised concerns about traffic and parking.

Mummery said site plans for the project are complete and construction could begin next year.

The facility could open as early as 2022.