No grand stand plans at McMahon

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:27 AM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers and their owners are pursuing construction of a new stadium.

The Montreal Alouettes are again looking to add to their under-sized facility.

Hamilton and Saskatchewan are making plans to refurbish their buildings, and the Ottawa group is pushing for a new stadium and will at worst make renovations to the existing building.

Oh yeah, there is talk the Toronto Argonauts are looking to move to BMO Field, which would require major alterations, and B.C. Place in Vancouver is looking at a facelift.

By comparison, Calgary's McMahon Stadium isn't all that bad, but that's not to say there aren't plans to improve the facility that houses the Stampeders.

"We've got a long list, but obviously it's that old issue of money, money, money," said McMahon manager John Haverstock.

A pie-in-the-sky hope would be a new facility, but Stamps co-owner Ted Hellard was quick to point out no CFL team has the financial wherewithal to build on their own.

Barring a huge infusion of public money, improvements would be more likely here.

Built in 1960, McMahon Stadium's biggest flaw is the concourse. When constructed, it was a 22,000-seat venue. Now able to house 35,600 patrons, the facilities don't cut it.

Haverstock said plans to widen concourses -- improving the restrooms and concessions -- have been investigated with a "Cadillac plan" estimated at $15 to $16 million back in November. (That price tag has since increased.)

One idea is to steer patrons to new facilities in the four corners, easing the traffic in the middle of the concourses.

Currently, there are renovations being made to the Stampeders' administration offices. Haverstock said any major projects would be a couple of years away, and take upwards of two years to complete during the team's off-season.

"I think it's a pretty good experience for fans in the grandstands," he said. "It's still a fans' park."


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