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Sponsor ready to support sports complex

Chris Puglia
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 02/05) - A major donor is said to be waiting in the wings to help pay for a proposed $12 million sports fieldhouse.

The proposed building could be built beside the Multiplex and house everything from indoor soccer to a running track to tennis courts.

Several city groups met with Facilities for Kids last week to gather input on the proposed building, which could be ready for the 2008 Arctic Winter Games.

Most prominent was the voice of NWT Soccer and Aurora Soccer, both of which have been pushing for the construction of the building, which, if nothing else, will include two soccer pitches.

Aside from asking for support, Facilities for Kids also asked what should be included in the facility.

The final product will all depend on budget. Ideas range from a $6 million bare-bones soccer facility to a $12 million all-encompassing sports complex.

According to Coun. Bob Brooks, the city has budgeted $6 million for construction.

"The city is proposing we could make as much as $5 or $6 million available," said Brooks.

Kevin Stapleton, president of Facilities for Kids, said finding a major sponsor would go a long way to procuring the additional $6 million.

The group has had discussions with potential donors waiting on the community's support for the project.

"I know we can get a major sponsor to step forward. But they won't step forward if we don't come together," said Stapleton.

Last Wednesday's meeting was a clear indicator there is support for the building. The hard part will be deciding what is included in the final design.

Organizations ranging from tennis and soccer to the Arts and Crafts Guild and the Filipino Association all expressed interest of being included in the design process.

The basic plan would include two soccer pitches and a running track.

Other suggestions included a user-pay complex that would add a weight training facility, cafeteria, multipurpose rooms, indoor tennis courts, climbing wall, commercial rental space, batting cages, a space for bocci ball and even the hospital's physiotherapy department.

More specific plans, like what type of flooring the soccer pitches should have, will come during the actual design process.

One idea included fold-up turf to allow the surface to have multiple uses.

There was also a request for grandstand seating overlooking at least one of the pitches.

If all goes according to plan, Facilities for Kids is hoping to announce a major sponsor in the new year and be ready to break ground by spring of 2007.

There was also brief discussion of negotiating with the city to give Facilities for Kids more control over the project's development.