The Delta school district is pitching the idea of building covered sports facilities.
Still in its early stages of discussion, the concept was recently posted on the district's website for feedback and ideas.
"We're very excited about it. I think it would be a great facility for our communities, for both the North and South Delta," said deputy superintendent Garnet Ayres
The facilities would have lighted artificial turf surfaces, covered with a stainless steel roof and frame. The structures wouldn't be completely closed but the sides would be fenced. On the inside, dasher boards would surround the fields, which could be used for a variety of sports
About 30,000-square-feet in size, early estimates have each facility costing over $1 million.
The idea is based on a similar covered field in Penticton, owned by a local soccer association, explained Ayres, noting there's nothing like it in the Lower Mainland. Ayres noted unlike the Penticton facility, the proposed covered fields in Delta wouldn't be heated and would have exposure to the outside from the sides.
"They'll be covered, so you stay dry. In Delta, our weather and climate is such that there would be very few days you wouldn't want to use it," Ayres said.
Entry to the secured facilities would be gained by swipe cards.
The idea is to build one or more covered sport field facilities at school grounds throughout Delta.
The project has already garnered significant community support, according the district, which is interested in partnerships with organizations, businesses and individuals.
"We wanted to see if this idea has any legs and shared it with some of our community groups that currently are renting our gym space. We're getting really good support for the concept, but it's just a concept right now," Ayres said.
"We've been talking to lacrosse, we've been talking to soccer, we've been talking to baseball. It's pretty exciting to hear people thinking this could actually happen in our communities. It would be pretty neat for our children to have that experience of working and practicing in these facilities."
Ayres said the school district's academies and gym classes, as well as community sports groups, could all utilize the facilities.
Preliminary discussions have also taken place with the Corporation of Delta about the requirements.
The district is now looking for sports groups willing to sign on as partners as well as sponsors.
"No education dollars would be used whatsoever. It would have to stand alone. It would also still need (school) board approval," Ayres said.
Delta council last December endorsed the Ladner Sport Field Enhancement Plan, containing a series of improvements to sports fields. At that time, there was no discussion of potential covered fields.
The biggest item in the enhancement plan, costing $3.8 million, is a turf field at Dugald Morrison Park. The project is to be financed primarily by Delta, but user groups are also asked to contribute.
The parent advisory council at Delta Secondary came forward with its own proposal to have an artificial turf field built at the Ladner high school, but that proposal was rejected.