Like many Vancouverites, I’ve been following the BC Place construction project ever since the marshmallow top was deflated back in May of 2010. With just over two weeks to go until the first event (BC Lions vs Edmonton Eskimos) it’s time for the finishing touches.
“Our September 30th scheduled completion is also dependent on weather or other factors beyond our control,” said David Podmore, chair of the BC Pavilion Corporation (“PavCo”). “While we will do our level best to be ready on that date, we will, of course, always put the safety of our talented and dedicated workers ahead of any other consideration. Nonetheless, construction at BC Place is progressing so well, that we are now at a point where we can confidently set the re-opening date.” Podmore added, “by committing to completion by September 30th, the BC Lions, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and their respective leagues are now able to finalize their plans for 2011.” [source: Press Release]
With split public opinion on the new stadium, there’s one person I know who has been incredibly excited this entire time. John has been able to tour the facility and has sat in on a few meetings with PavCo representatives. Here’s what he’s told me along with a few facts from the media handouts I’ve received:
- The old BC Place was dark, dreary, and stagnant. The new BC Place has replaced stone with glass, darkness with light, and allows fresh air to flow through the roof and through the end zones.
- The “ring of fire” is about twice the height of the one at Rogers Arena. This is the illuminated advertisement board that goes around the circumference of the stadium between seating levels.
- The videoboard, suspended above the middle of the field by cables, can be lowered or raised based on the needs of the event.
- The two large sideline video screens are the second largest centre-hung screens in North America (second only to the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium in Texas).
- One thing that confused me was the roof. I thought for months that it was fully retractable but it’s actually not. Only the middle portion above the pitch has cloth “curtains” that can be drawn and re-opened for matches. Spectators will be covered at all times.
- John also noticed the stadium is setup with WIFI antennas. There are 800 of them in fact.
- The outside of BC Place will now light up as colour-coded light panels around the entire stadium could let you know exactly which team is playing and when they score.
- Façade material (ETFE) also contains metal dots called “frits” to reflect light and create colour animations for events (same material used on Water Cube during 2008 Olympics in Beijing). 800 lights also adorn the outdoor cable system supporting the roof. [source: Media Release]
- All the old blue seats have been removed and recycled. The new seats are 3 inches wider than the old ones. [source: Media Release]
While the Grey Cup Championship game is sold out, tickets for the Grey Cup Festival and Vanier Cup go on sale this Saturday, September 17, 2011. Follow @BCPlace2011 on Twitter for more construction updates and photos.