Clusters of tradespeople buzzing around busy with last-minute preparations created a hive-like atmosphere for a media tour on Tuesday of Westhills Stadium.
The official opening ceremony for the newly refurbished, renovated and expanded stadium, as well as the opening of Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground, is set for Saturday, Aug. 24, followed by a Canadian Premier League soccer game between hometown Pacific FC and Winnipeg-based Valor FC.
Cory Nanton, manager of parks and recreation for the City of Langford, said Westhills Stadium is a central component of the city’s efforts to provide a great selection of recreational options for the community while providing sporting opportunities for youth.
The original stadium, which held about 2,500 fans, had to be increased to more than 5,000 to enable Langford to continue to host Women’s 7s rugby events, and, with the addition of a new grandstand one end, it can now accommodate up to 7,000 for Pacific FC games. A lot of thought and preparation went into ensuring the expansion featured outstanding sight lines while retaining an intimate environment, he noted. The number of suites increased from 10 to 18. They range from $15,000 to $18,000 per season, and have already sold out. Unique glass partitions were installed between the seats to ensure the field can be viewed from all angles, Storage areas were included under the main bleachers that provide space for local youth teams and organizations as well, Manton noted. Wifi will be available at all events.
One of the challenges faced was adding power lines to an area adjacent to the field for a beer garden, food trucks and vendors as per BC Hydro’s stipulations.
Every decision from the location of additional men’s and women’s washrooms to water stations accessible by players and fans to where the vents for the concession stands would be located was carefully scrutinized, he added.
Since the field will be used for FC Pacific soccer games, Rugby Canada games and Westshore Rebels football games, a new state of the art machine was purchased that greatly reduces the time and expense of removing and repainting the different configurations of white lines required for each sport.
Manton pointed out that an outdoor stage is being added to the side of the new grandstand in an area that can handle about 2,500 people for events such as concerts featuring local bands and other entertainment that can be scheduled when there’s no games or events going on in the stadium.
“All of the trades have been bending over backward to get everything ready,” he said. “We couldn’t have done it a couple of hundred people who deserve a huge thank you for their tremendous efforts.”