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Proponents of Calgary fieldhouse are hopeful new concept plan will give project more traction

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The city of Calgary is looking for public input as it creates a concept plan for the future development of the Foothills Athletic Park and McMahon Stadium lands. As Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports, it's renewing hope that a long-awaited fieldhouse will be constructed. – Mar 28, 2021

The City of Calgary is looking for public input as it creates a concept plan for the future development of the Foothills Athletic Park and McMahon Stadium lands.

The concept plan will create a vision for the lands that recognize the opportunity of a new fieldhouse and improvements to McMahon Stadium.

A fieldhouse has been an unfunded priority for the City of Calgary for decades.

“We are the only major city in Canada that doesn’t have a fieldhouse,” said Dale Schoenthaler, a director with the Calgary Multisport Fieldhouse Society.

He said the facility would benefit a wide range of sports, ages and abilities.

Read more: City pushes ahead with plans for a new Calgary fieldhouse

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“This would affect thousands upon thousands of young athletes, right from the grassroots level right to our national and Olympic athletes as well as our seniors and the health and wellness of everybody,” said Schoenthaler.

For the first time, the city is creating a concept plan for the future development of the Foothills Athletic Park and the university-owned McMahon Stadium lands.

“The fieldhouse is an important part of this project and it is incorporated into the master planning of this plan,” said Coun. George Chahal, who is the chair of the Foothills Athletic Park redevelopment advisory committee.

“We have seen, during the pandemic, the importance of mental health and wellness of all Calgarians, and the fieldhouse can be an important part of us building back stronger and better as a community.”

Read more: No funding for field house from University of Calgary

Two years ago, the city approved nearly $20 million for the planning and design of a redeveloped Foothills Athletic Park.

Part of that master plan had a new fieldhouse that would include a 400-metre track, basketball and volleyball courts, and a soccer field with a capacity for 10,000 spectators.

The fieldhouse is still an unfunded priority. Chahal said construction won’t start until funding is secured from other levels of government.

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Supporters of the fieldhouse are hopeful that interest in the new concept plan for the entire area will help speed up the funding process.

“I think now that they are looking at McMahon and everything, I think we are going to get a little more traction to hopefully getting some money thrown in towards the project going forward,” Schoenthaler said.

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