York’s Keele campus will look a bit different come the spring of 2021. A major renovation to the York Lions Stadium is underway that will transform the stadium into the cornerstone of a new vision for athletic and recreation facilities on campus.
The $8.2-million dollar upgrade includes the installation of a seasonal dome and a new FIFA Quality Pro – 2 Star and World Rugby – 22 Certified artificial turf surface expanded to meet the size standards required to play sports such as soccer and football. The installation of the air-supported dome enclosure, which will be one the largest in Ontario, will convert the existing stadium structure into a multi-use facility that can be used year-round. Work on the field conversion and dome installation began Aug. 10 and is expected to be completed by spring 2021.
For Executive Director, Athletics & Recreation, Jennifer Myers, the stadium’s conversion to a year-round multi-use facility represents a major step toward establishing a state-of-the-art athletics precinct on the Keele Campus. Myers says the facility will create much-needed space to deliver expanded programs and services such as intramurals, sport clubs and open time for use that will significantly enhance the student experience. The conversion of the stadium will also create a permanent home for the York Lions varsity football and soccer teams as well as the York9 Football Club, a professional soccer franchise that calls the Keele Campus home.
In addition to the installation of a seasonal dome, the new playing surface will be moved closer to the existing stands which will provide a more intimate experience for anyone attending an event at York Lions Stadium. Myers said the new configuration would provide an opportunity to expand the seating capacity of the stadium in the future from its existing base of 4,000 seats when required. In addition, future plans call for the construction of a state-of-the-art pavilion on the south end of the stadium to serve multiple needs of our extensive varsity sports programs.
“Once completed, this stadium will be a fantastic home for our varsity sport teams and a showcase piece for the University as we continue to seek ways to improve our ability to serve and engage our student population,” says Myers.
“The emphasis is first and foremost on providing an exceptional experience for students. It is also our hope the stadium will increase our ability to create a more dynamic campus by enabling us to stage a variety of special events, such as the annual Orientation Welcome Ceremony, concerts and other entertainment opportunities. This type of facility will also position the University to partner with outside groups for special events, sporting competitions, local community programming, as well as provincial and national sport organizations. With the facility located directly across the street from the pioneer subway stop, and closely adjacent-to the 407 and 400 (highways), it is an ideal space to grow our impact on the campus and the community.
“This really is a pivotal project for us as we look towards creating an active and dynamic athletic precinct on the Keele campus to encourage all community partners to be more active and engaged.”
The air-supported seasonal dome structure will see the stadium in use over the winter months. The dome, which once installed will measure 450 by 250 by 75 square feet, will be one of the largest in Ontario. The new professional level turf will offer 112,500 square feet of playing surface.
A unique installation, the project’s general contractor is Chandos Construction. The dome will be in place for five months of the year. A virtual ground-breaking ceremony is being planned for Thursday, Sept. 17 at 12 p.m.
To learn more, visit yorklions.ca.