A new artificial turf athletic field next to Centennial secondary school isn’t serving all the needs of the community say some potential users.
Dino Geremia, the head football coach at Centennial said plans for the new facility fall short of what his program needs and could benefit the school to build spirit in the community.
The city’s lacrosse community is also concerned current plans for the field don’t seem to indicate it will be lined for field lacrosse.
“Coquitlam is a big lacrosse city always in need of fields,” said lacrosse parent Rick Chalmers.
Geremia said a spotting tower is part of a wish list of enhancements he would like to see included at the new field, to be built where the old Centennial school building used to be before it was torn down in a $50-million rebuild two years ago. He’d also like more bleachers or even a small, covered grandstand with enough seating for 500, as well as a raised announcer’s booth that could also double as a platform for coaches and videographers to get an overall vantage point.
“The goal of the field is to be multipurpose, but football requires a bit more,” Geremia said. “We want to be able to have a field that can host high-level events.”
On March 1, Coquitlam’s general manager of parks, recreation, culture and facilities Don Luymes went before council to ask for another $600,000 to construct the field. It’s now budgeted at $3.6 million, with another $62,000 annually for maintenance, plus $107,000 a year for asset replacement as part of a joint-use agreement with the school district that owns the land.
Luymes said soil conditions and increasing construction costs are responsible for the project’s growing price tag.
Coun. Craig Hodge, who’s also chair of Coquitlam’s sports and recreation advisory committee, said the city didn’t want to delay construction any further, so the field could be ready by the fall. He said staff will review the enhancement requests, but “this is a very small site.”
According to Geremia, building a top-level facility right out of the gate will likely save money and serve the community better in the long run.
“You have to make sure you’re thinking ahead,” he said, adding the new field will help the school integrate better into the surrounding community as it becomes a hub for sporting activities of all kinds, including soccer, and field hockey.
Geremia, who sent an email to parents urging them to contact councillors to express their support for a more substantive project, said if the city doesn’t come through, he’d be prepared to look at doing some community fundraising to pay for the enhancements.
Hodge said outside funding for additional amenities isn’t beyond the scope of possibility. He pointed out Metro Ford Soccer helped pay for some of the enhancements at the turf facility at Dr. Charles Best secondary school, another partnership between the city and the school district.
Geremia said the extra work fundraising would be worth it, as the Centennial field has the potential to become a showpiece for the city and an exciting venue for spectators and players.
Construction is expected to begin on the new field in the spring, with completion slated for later this year.
— with files from Janis Cleugh