REGINA -- The City of Regina has unveiled concept drawings of a proposed 33,000-seat stadium that would be home to the Saskatchewan Roughriders football team.
The design shows a sunken bowl-type stadium that would be located on Evraz Place lands, near where Mosaic Stadium now stands. It has what is described as a spectator roof to protect fans from the weather while still being open over the field.
There would be a band of louvers around the stadium to control the famous Saskatchewan wind. They could be opened in the summer to allow the breeze to pass through and closed in the fall to shield fans.
Gone would be the bench-style seating in Mosaic Stadium.
"The sort of goal is to kind of keep the magic of a place like Mosaic Stadium and the fun that we've all enjoyed there, but kind of evolve it for the future," architect Dipesh Patel said Wednesday at a news conference in Regina.
"We've got a circular footprint and that gives us the most seats we can on the sides, so 80 per cent of the seats are on the sides. And every seat has a good view of course."
The concept design has cost the city $575,000 so far.
Deputy city manager Brent Sjoberg said the concept gives people an idea of what can be done for $278 million.
However, the city still has to put out a request for proposals and builders may have some other ideas for the final design.
"In some cases we say 'These elements are mandatory. You must do it in this particular way,' " said Sjoberg. "With other elements we say 'We're looking for your thoughts and advice, experience. It's a little bit more flexible in terms of our requirements. Of course they need to meet the budget specifications, they can't spend more."
"Early indications (are that) all these things that we're showing you are within the budget funding. We need to confirm that," he added.
One of the requirements is that the stadium be ready to have a roof, which could be added down the road.
Riders' president and CEO Jim Hopson said the team is concerned about the locker rooms and training facilities. But it's also thinking about game day, said Hopson.
"Clearly though the fan experience, the sightlines, the distance from the field, all those sorts of things we would also want to see within the budget of course. That the standard seat size would be larger than the minimum, that it's not just 18 inches so we can provide a much improved experience for our fans," said Hopson.
Mosaic Stadium is structurally sound, but it is also one of the oldest buildings in the Canadian Football League. It was originally built as a rugby field in 1910 and has been renovated numerous times over the years.
The team said in March 2010 that it's getting to the point where Mosaic will no longer be usable.
The province punted plans for a domed stadium last year due to a lack of federal funding and said it would be up to the city to come up with a new proposal.
The city pitched a plan in April 2011 for a sports and entertainment complex, along with condos and commercial space, to be built on a site currently occupied by Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. A neighbourhood with residential units would be built on the old Mosaic Stadium site.
That plan morphed into the proposed open-air stadium at Evraz Place.
The city has said executing the plan will require public investments of $278.2 million for the new stadium.
Under a memorandum of understanding announced in July, the money for the new stadium is to be funded through an $80-million grant from the province, along with $73 million from the City of Regina. The Roughriders will raise $25 million. The province also will provide a $100-million loan to the city, to be repaid with interest over 30 years.
Construction is expected to begin in late 2013 and the stadium would be ready in early 2017.