Calgary committee discusses potential multi-sport field house with $19M funding request

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WATCH: George Chahal, Calgary city councillor for Ward 5 and chair of the Foothills Athletic Park Redevelopment Advisory Committee, joins Global News Calgary to discuss the current concept and plans for a multi-sport field house in the city – May 11, 2019

A new field house in Calgary is one step closer to reality after a committee sent in a $19 million funding request on Friday.

The proposed facility would be in Foothills Athletic Park and include a 400-metre track, seating for up to 10,000 people, a FIFA regulation soccer field, two ice rinks and a 50-metre pool.

The cost is estimated at $235 million and would take nearly five years to build.

The $19 million would go towards design work for the project, but even if the recommendation is approved by city council, a concept design isn’t expected until 2020.

Ward 5 Coun. George Chahal chairs the Foothills Athletic Park Redevelopment Advisory Committee. According to Chahal, field house plans have been discussed since 1967 and the proposed facility has been one of the top unfunded civic projects for years.

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“We’re the only major Canadian city without a field house,” he said Saturday.

“This is really important because we need the funding to really get to work and talk to our partners, such as the University of Calgary, on the programming, on the functional and accommodating needs of the field house and how we can work together to really make this a great project that’s a win-win for all Calgarians,” Chahal added.

The funding works in two streams, Chahal said: what the field house will look like and which activities it will host, and how to build the rest of the park to create a “vibrant community.”

“There’s a number of stage gates that, before we even spend any of that money, we have to go through,” Chahal said. “The first is the functional programming and accommodating working with our partners… Once we clear that stage and there’s a little bit of funding with that, we move to the next design stage, and that’s where more of that funding will be utilized, in the design preparation of construction documents, for building permits and development permits.”

The field house is one of four major projects the city is reviewing, including the BMO Centre expansion, Arts Commons renovations and new arena plans.