REGINA - The Canadian Football League's Saskatchewan Roughriders are getting a new stadium that is being described as iconic and bold.
The team, the city of Regina and the province on Thursday unveiled the design for a 33,000-seat facility that can be expanded to hold 40,000 fans for special events.
The stadium is to have wider seats, a sunken bowl for easier spectator access and expansive concourses. Although it is open-air, it features a translucent spectators roof that extends over the seats to provide protection from the elements.
Snow loads and sun angles were considered in determining the shape and extent of the overhang. It provides coverage for half the spectators and some protection across all permanent seating.
The venue is being described as "roof ready," meaning a full roof could be added at a later date.
The current stadium near downtown Regina originally started as a rugby field in 1910 and is known for its old wooden-bench seating and exposure to wind that will knock your socks off.
"Once we get into this stadium, people are going to say 'I love it,'" predicted Rider president and CEO Jim Hopson. "I love the fact that it is outdoors still, but we're getting some protection from the wind, from the driving rain and so on.
"Wind is a huge factor here in terms of comfort and the design reflects that."
Rider board chairman Roger Branvold agreed the $278-million stadium will make for a better game-day experience for fans.
The stadium will be located on the grounds of Evraz Place, an arena and convention centre complex northwest of downtown. Construction is to begin in June with a completion target of August 2016.
Mark Williams of HKS Sports and Entertainment, a U.S.-based architectural firm that designed the stadium, said it will be one of the jewels in his company's portfolio.
"We have opened the last three very successful stadiums in the NFL and I will put this design pound for pound with anything that we have done in the past," he said.
Regina Mayor Michael Fougere suggested the new stadium is just the beginning of a revitalized city.
"We are at the leading edge of growth, not just for Saskatchewan, but for the whole country," he said. "This is such a dynamic time to be in Regina. We're going to see so much more investment and job opportunities and things happening.
"This is a beginning of a new way of investment and development."
The current stadium will eventually be decommissioned and a 700-unit housing development built, the mayor said.
The team also announced that its future home will continue to carry the name Mosaic Stadium when it hosts its first CFL game in June 2017.
— With files from CKRM
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