“The current surface has seen about 13 years of use, so we are extremely grateful for the support from the provincial government to upgrade our most heavily-used outdoor athletics facility,” said USask President Peter Stoicheff.
In addition to replacing the turf, the project will include a field expansion to accommodate regulation-sized football and soccer events; improving shock absorption to lessen the chance of injury; and an update to lighting that will reduce power consumption.
“This investment will generate lasting benefits for Saskatoon’s local sports community, the city of Saskatoon, the University of Saskatchewan and our province,” said Advanced Education Minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor. “By expanding the field, upgrading the lighting and creating a safer playing surface for athletes and community users, we are helping transform Griffiths Stadium into a world-class university sports facility.”
Griffiths Stadium in Nutrien Park is central to the USask student experience and is highly utilized by Saskatoon residents for their community sports and outdoor activities. Once completed, the stadium will be well positioned to host events such as U Sports championships.
“At USask, our connection to the broader community is always a priority, and this upgraded state-of-the-art field will benefit the city,” said Stoicheff. “It also represents a big step toward making Huskie Athletics the top athletics program in Canada.”
“Griffiths Stadium is where myself and my teammates, along with so many other student-athletes, met for the first time, so it holds a special place in many of our hearts,” said Huskie women’s soccer player Taneil Gay. “For the Huskie women’s soccer team specifically, we always look forward to our one game a season where we play under the lights at Griffiths Stadium because the atmosphere is amazing. Having the stadium revamped will make those experiences even better.”
Previous upgrades to the stadium resulted from a $5 million donation from Nutrien as the Huskies football team prepared to host the Vanier Cup in 2006. As well, Jane and Ron Graham, former USask student-athletes and major donors, financed a new clubhouse at the same time for the team. They also gave an additional $3 million to expand the facility in 2010, now named the Graham Huskie Clubhouse.
“It’s thanks to our partners, donors and supporters that this space and Huskie Athletics continues to evolve at the University of Saskatchewan, welcoming more opportunities for sport and competitions at the level of our talented athletes,” said President Stoicheff in his address.
Mike Staines, District Manager for PCL, was also part of the ceremony and noted, “Projects like this, and others that are being funded by our government, are instrumental in getting more of our fellow Saskatchewan citizens back to work, and at the same time will leave long-lasting benefits for our community.”
PCL Construction Management will begin work on the project this month and continue into October.