U of G Gets $1.5-Million Gift for Upgrades to Alumni Stadium

January 19, 2012 - News Release

The University of Guelph’s Alumni Stadium is getting a facelift. A $1.5-million donation is paying for a new synthetic turf field and jump-starting renovations of the track around the football field and lighting as part of the Athletics Master Plan to upgrade all the University’s athletic facilities.

It was approved by the University’s Board of Governors Wednesday.

The gift — from a local family who wishes to remain anonymous — is the largest single donation to U of G’s Department of Athletics.

“This is wonderful news,” said president Alastair Summerlee. “While the donors do not play to the spotlight, they have been key supporters of our BetterPlanet Project and already made major gifts to support academic and athletic programs at the University. This latest gift is another example of their humble generosity.”

The total estimated cost of the improvements is $4.9 million. The University is seeking additional funding from private donors, grants and other sources. The University is working closely with Friends of Gryphon Football and other alumni groups to raise further financial support through the BetterPlanet Project campaign.

Tom Kendall, director of athletics, said: “The renovations to Alumni Stadium combined with the recent installation of the rugby field, soccer complex and new field house mean that U of G now has one of the best outdoor and indoor field facilities in Canada. Not only will it be a welcome addition to Gryphon athletics, but it also will benefit the community. The synthetic turf means that we can use the facilities more extensively for University and community events, regardless of weather.”

The artificial field surface will also accommodate non-sporting events such as concerts and Orientation Week events, Kendall said.

Construction will begin as soon as possible. Officials hope to have the new facilities ready for fall semester, including for the Gryphons' first home football game Sept. 15.

U of G’s Athletics Master Plan also includes installing artificial turf on outdoor playing fields — a project that was completed last fall — and building and renovating a student fitness and recreation complex. Student fees for athletics improvements approved in a 2010 referendum will generate about $75 million over 30 years.

The plan will be implemented in phases as funding permits.

Noting the importance of athletics in attracting and retaining students, Kendall said these and related improvements are essential for the University’s future. “We also recognize the importance of a healthy lifestyle for student success. These changes will allow us to continue to be leaders in student support.”

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or lhunt@uoguelph.ca, or Shiona Mackenzie, Ext. 56982, or shiona@uoguelph.ca.

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