BC Place to get $65-million update - The Vancouver Sun

David Hogben

VANCOUVER - Patrons attending events at BC Place stadium can look forward to better food, better ambience and improved accessibility for the disabled, BC Pavilion Corp. chief executive officer David Podmore said Thursday.

Podmore said a $65-million contract to refurbish the stadium has been awarded to Dominion Fairmile Construction as general contractor.

"We will complete that work within the $65-million budget," Podmore said during a news conference at the 25-year-old stadium.

Funding for the first phase of refurbishing the stadium will come from cash reserves and more will be financed with revenue from future development of Pavilion Corp. -- PavCo -- lands around BC Place. He said further revenues will be attracted from sponsorship and increased stadium business.

PavCo is a provincial Crown corporation that manages the 60,000-seat multi-use stadium and other assets.

The first-phase of the upgrade is expected to be completed by late 2009.

The $65-million plan does not include a partly retractable roof expected to be installed after the 2010 Winter Olympics, or the structural changes to the building that will be required to support it.

Podmore acknowledged the retractable roof will not offer views of the North Shore mountains or any other sites except perhaps from a few of the higher seats. But he insisted the stadium will be a brighter, more comfortable stadium than the current one with its air-supported roof.

Both Empire Stadium -- demolished in 1993 -- and the Vancouver Whitecaps soccer team's proposed Waterfront Stadium offered spectacular views of Vancouver's renowned mountain scenery as added attractions.

In lieu of that, the refurbished BC Place will include plenty of wood finishing and photos of landscapes from around the province.

BC Place will also include a revamped Edgewater Lounge at its east end with better and more varied selections of food and beverages, Podmore said. Two other lounges are planned as well.

Despite the lack of view, Podmore said, the sunroof-style opening in BC Place would introduce more light and side louvres in the structure would allow air to circulate through the building.

Podmore said the refurbished stadium will include wheelchair access to all levels of the building.

As well as being the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies, BC Place is expected to continue as the home of the B.C. Lions and, in 2011, of the Vancouver Whitecaps.

PavCo has yet to announce the cost of renovating BC Place and installing the retractable sunroof.

dhogben@vancouversun.com

NEW VISION FOR CITY'S DOMED STADIUM

Interior updates to BC Place Stadium announced Thursday will be rolled out over the next three years in time for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

A retractable roof is proposed for after the Games.

BOXES: Artist rendering of executive suite with improved dining area and large flat screen televisions, replacing quarter-century-old decor. Better food with a more varied menu is also planned.

LOUNGE: The Edgewater Lounge to be refurbished to a higher quality with better service and a more varied menu. Two additional lounges are also planned.

NEW FEATURES

- Eight ramps will get new flooring, lighting and colour over 35,000 square feet

- 52 washroom blocks to be upgraded

- Disabled seating throughout

- 40 concessions to get new fronts counters, wheelchair-accessible counters, new signage, monitors and fixtures

- Grill concessions to get appliance upgrades

- Concourses on Levels 2 and 4 to be upgraded with new lighting, wall treatments and entry points to ramps and seating

- 35 renovated suites and seven new ones

- All internal and external signage to be replaced by contemporary signage and graphics

ONLINE: See more photos showing how BC Place's interior will change at vancouversun.com/gallery

© The Vancouver Sun 2008