UBC is building a new home for its rugby program.
The rugby pavilion will be located next to Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre and serve as the new home for UBC rugby and a new venue for intramural and UBC Rec programs. The pavilion is budgeted at $2.5 million, most of which is donated.
Associate Athletics director Kavie Toor said that while the rugby fields were upgraded after the last Olympics, the old pavilion was lagging behind.
“Following the Olympics, we used that as an opportunity to chat with some alumni to say, ‘Hey, we’ve got a building that’s really old, that’s past its lifespan, [and] there may be an opportunity here to come up with a nice facility that could really be a new legacy piece. It was really the leveraging and the timing around the Olympics, was the big draw,” said Toor.
UBC rugby captain Alex Kam said the upgrades should improve the rugby program for both athletes and fans.
“It’s a high performance facility. It will benefit our rugby team on and off the field with the new equipment.… Hopefully it will bring in more students and alumni and friends to our games, because I think they’re building a lounge area in the clubhouse,” said Kam.
Kam is hopeful that the new facility will attract top new talent from high schools as well as big-time B.C. Rugby and Rugby Canada events.
“I know they have some connections with B.C. Rugby now in regards to the new facility, so I’m assuming a lot of B.C. camps — like B.C. senior men’s, maybe even some Canada rugby camps — would be held at our new facility now. Hopefully that will attract a lot more players from high school to come to UBC rugby,” said Kam.
UBC’s rugby program has been waiting a long time for a new facility. “If you look on campus, hockey has the new Thunderbird Arena, football has Thunderbird Stadium, and all the field hockey, soccer, baseball, they all have new facilities.… The rugby field and the clubhouse there is ancient,” said Kam.
The new pavilion is scheduled to be ready for occupancy by October 2012.