BC Place Construction Update: Almost Done

Comments 4 by Rebecca Bollwitt

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.

Photo credit: BC Place on Flickr

“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]

BC Place Tour: August 18, 2011
Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

BC Place Tour: August 18, 2011
Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

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]
Photo credit: BC Place on Flickr

Photo credit: BC Place on Flickr

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.

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4 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. AlexWednesday, September 14th, 2011 — 2:36pm PDT

    I am pretty excited about this new building. It did cost a lot, but if we can get another 40 years out of this building (which I believe was the expectation), then I think it was the correct move. Time will tell I suppose!

  2. John BollwittThursday, September 15th, 2011 — 1:14pm PDT

    The thing that gets me excited about the new BC Place is how much more open of a feeling the stadium has, and that is being said with my recent tour of the place in full hard hat, steel-toed boots, safety glasses, and bright yellow vest. This was a few weeks ago, and there were people working everywhere. It was a very impressive sight.

    Working for TEAM Radio and doing a good amount of BC Lions football games in the old, air-supported dome, I really loathed working there. I say that only from the aspect of spending 6-7 hours in there working, and that includes running from the broadcast booth to the locker rooms and onto the field. When you’re in there that long, all that air pressure in the building left a gross feeling after everything was said and done. You could taste the building in your mouth, that’s the best way I can sum it up. And it never seemed to fail me that some sort of headache resulted from inhaling that same air.

    The fresh air is the biggest, most exciting aspect for me with this upgrade. The ability for more, natural light is a huge boost, but then the new scoreboard/humegatron and sound system will be a massive improvement for anyone attending an event there. No more kinks in your neck from squinting at the single video board way up in one end zone, and you’ll probably be able to understand the people talking on the P.A. now.

    It’s a world class improvement over the somewhat embarrassing decor that once was. Who knows what else that might bring to BC Place once the doors are open again.

  3. Don SutherlandFriday, September 16th, 2011 — 10:15am PDT

    This new facility is a winner – I can hardly wait to get into a Football Game and Soccer Game at the end of this month ! Spending on venues that generate revenue and enhance the City is not wasted money ! Soending money on Cycling that slows travel in the city (for the minority Gregor) is a waste of money !

  4. JamesSaturday, September 17th, 2011 — 10:14pm PDT

    Can’t wait to watch the major leagues palying in this new stadium that we all can be proud of. Hope the weather will not be a spoiler the next 2 weeks so the stadium construction can be completed as scheduled.

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