Construction of the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre is on track to be completed by the end of October, with a large portion of construction done in time for the university’s projected September 21 grand opening, which will spark a three-day party.
“It’ll be the biggest party in the city of Prince George,” said UNBC president Don Cozetto at a media tour of the facilities June 20.
The media tour was meant to commemorate the Northern Development Trust Board of Director’s $4.2 million investment in the $30,750,000 facility. Although the investment was made last year this was the first time that members of the board were able to see the nearly-complete facility.
This trust, consisting of various communities in the North, invested the money in a couple different areas. The City of Prince George and the Regional District of Fraser Fort George loaned the university $3 million, interest-free, while the board’s cross-regional program that represents the support of 40 communities in the North gave a $1.2 million grant.
The 13,500 square meter facility should be functionally complete by the September 21 grand opening, though some of the bleachers will still be under construction, as they take 45 days to complete, and can’t be started until the floor is complete, according to the director of planning/capital projects Godfrey Medhurst. Some bleachers will be complete for the opening. These bleachers are able to be pushed back, making way for additional space if necessary.
During the tour participants were required to wear hard-hats, as construction continued throughout the day. From an interior standpoint, much of the facility was partially incomplete, though indications as to what the facility will look like once complete were apparent throughout the facility. It appears somewhat similar to the rest of UNBC, with a large concrete slab structure, and wood-work throughout as pillars.
Mayor Colin Kinsley seemed very enthusiastic about the speedy process with which facilities were built.
“This facility is the thing that will change the campus,” helping to recruit and train new students, said Kinsley.
Coach of the UNBC women’s soccer team Anders Dyrblom certainly found the upcoming facility beneficial in scouting for new team members, mainly because it helped admit UNBC into the British Columbia Colleges Athletic Association, which makes the teams eligible to play against some of the best teams across Canada.
“This is a channel for athletes out here to have their shots … It’s a good opening for players,” Dyrblom said earlier this summer while scouting for players.
The university’s ultimate goal is to attract 100 new students to UNBC, which College of New Caledonia board chair Bruce Sutherland said should add an additional $1.6 million indirectly to the economy.
The centre is going to be open to the public, with booking opportunities for various activities, including sports games that require a large multi-purpose indoor field, a gymnasium, or a three-lane 280-meter track. The centre also has two squash courts, locker rooms, weight and cardio room, studio for aerobics and dances, sport medicine and physiotherapy office, and other sports-related facilities.
Additional information about the Northern Sport Centre can be found through phoning 960-6358.