Lacombe Athletic Park Association announces $4 million expansion project

Lacombe Athletic Park Association members, dignitaries, MEGlobal Canada representatives and athletes gather at centre field of MEGlobal Athletic Park following the announcement of a $4-million expansion project and a $2-million donation from MEGlobal to go towards the project on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018 in Lacombe, Alta. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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A $4 million expansion project is now officially in the works for MEGlobal Athletic Park.

The Lacombe Athletic Park Association (L.A.P.A.) formally unveiled plans to create a new track, expand the existing field house and improve spectator facilities on Tuesday morning. The announcement came alongside a $2 million donation from MEGlobal Canada to go towards the project, which also secured naming right for the park until 2040.

“We are just so thrilled that MEGlobal has donated the $2 million to L.A.P.A. to see our dreams come true, to see world-class quality track field event infrastructure built here in Lacombe,” said L.A.P.A. Vice Chair and Spokesperson Bruce Miller. “Right from the beginning, the dream of having a track was there. It’s always been in the background…Now could be the time. We do need additions to our field house for more adequate facilities, but the opportunity, the need for having a quality track here in Central Alberta was also there.”

While it’s always been L.A.P.A.’s intent to include a track in the park, the key trigger for the project was the need for expansion to the current field house. More public washrooms, larger change rooms, as well as an improvement to overall accessibility – including the creation of a fully-accessible observation area – are some of the items included in the blueprints, in addition to an international regulation track.

The desire for expansion was always there, but now Miller says the need for such improvements is justified.

“Right now, we have athletes going outside of Lacombe to train,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity for students in Wolf Creek (Public Schools), Lacombe County, central Alberta to be able to train and compete right here on our own turf, so this past year we really started getting the ball rolling to make this happen.”

Wolf Creek Public Schools is already working with L.A.P.A. and the City of Lacombe to provide additional land for the site to accommodate track and field events in the future. The city and Lacombe County have agreed, in principle, to the expansion, with both municipalities saying they were proud to support L.A.P.A. and their expansion.

“We’ve seen this group grow and evolve the park, accommodating community groups, events, school programs and sports teams while marketing itself across the province as a centre of excellence,” said County Reeve Paula Law. “If past experiences are any indication of what this facility’s future holds…Lacombe County has no doubt that the future is bright and is very supportive of this project.”

Area residents, athletes and the partners and stakeholders won’t have too long to wait before they see the announcement become a reality. L.A.P.A.’s goal is to complete the major expansion project in the next two years, starting with construction on the field house in 2019 and construction of the track in 2020.

The hope is construction won’t disrupt any of the normally scheduled events or shut the facility down completely, however, at this point details are uncertain.

“Our goal is to have construction happen at a time where we don’t have disruption,” said Miller. “We don’t know at this point exactly where timelines are.”