Exploring the idea of an indoor sports facility on campus

Outdoor field sports could become a year-round activity at TRU if talks of an indoor stadium become concrete.

Matt Milovick, Vice President of Finance, said in an email that the indoor field is currently just an idea that would eventually be brought forward to the university’s planning committee for approval.

“This is a project that we have been exploring the viability of for the past 18 months, having looked at different models and having talked to various constituent groups in the community,” Milovick said. He added that the primary objective is to improve recreational and athletic experiences for students.

No details were given on where the facility would be built, what the projected cost could be or the timeline for the project, if it were to get the greenlight.

Ken Olynyk, Director of Athletics and Recreation, believes that an indoor turf facility would have benefits for TRU and the Kamloops community. Any planning for a new facility would be in the “infant stages,” Olynyk said.

“At TRU, we see it as an opportunity to grow our recreation, grow our programming for our students and for our staff,” Olynyk said, adding that having an indoor field would allow the university to do more with their recreational and intramural programming.

“Opportunities for our students – that’s what we’re looking at.”

While soccer would most likely be its most popular use, Olynyk said that indoor turf can be used for a variety of different sports, such as cricket, baseball and futsal, a five-a-side version of soccer.

Indoor turfs exist in other parts of the city, including a privately-owned facility on the North Shore and another on the Kamloops Indian Band reserve. However, they are “not outstanding,” according to Olynyk. If a new facility were to be put at TRU, it would be suitable for use by high-performance groups such as the WolfPack soccer teams and the Vancouver Whitecaps Academy.

Olynyk also said that a stadium used for recreation will give students another reason to stay on-campus when not in classes. It would also bring benefits to the rest of Kamloops, especially in the winter.

“I think that a big part of Thompson Rivers University is its reach into the community. It’s a vibrant university, it helps the community and I think that is what we’re looking at,” Olynyk said.

Before the project can get approval to go to the planning phase, the university must consult and include discussion from the TRU community.