UBC GamePlan – Recreation and Athletics Facilities Public Consultation

UBC is developing a long-range recreation and athletics facilities strategy (UBC GamePlan) that will guide future investments in athletics facilities on campus.


To provide high-quality recreation and sport experiences for students, faculty, sta­ff and neighbourhood residents, UBC is developing a long-range recreation and athletics facilities strategy (UBC GamePlan) that will guide future investments in athletics facilities on campus.

The purpose of the strategy is to meet a growing need for recreational fitness and gymnasium space on campus, as well as address aging athletics facilities, like War Memorial Gym and Thunderbird Stadium. It also supports UBC’s commitment to wellbeing and creating happier, healthier and more sustainable communities at UBC. Find out more about UBC's commitment to wellbeing here

As part of this strategy we sought feedback from the campus community on proposed recreation and athletics facilities options. 

Fall Consultation Update

Earlier this fall, UBC consulted the campus community, partners and stakeholders on a series of proposed options for a Recreation Hub (War Memorial Gym) and a Spectator Hub (Thunderbird Football Stadium and Athletics Centre of Excellence) as part of the process to develop a 20-year Athletics and Recreation Strategy.

What We Heard

From October 3 - 23, UBC invited the campus community to share their feedback through an online questionnaire and four public open houses, receiving close to 2000 responses to the questionnaire.

For the War Memorial Gym options (Recreation Hub), we heard an interest for rebuilding the gym (Option C), while ensuring its cultural and symbolic importance was retained in the new building. We also heard interest in a full renovation of the gym (Option B) because it embraces UBC’s history. Both options rated high for promoting health and wellbeing and fostering varsity excellence.There was little support for a basic renovation of War Memorial Gym.

For Thunderbird Stadium and the Athletics Centre of Excellence options (Spectator Hub), we heard strong interest in keeping the Stadium within the existing area (future Stadium Road Neighbourhood), but that it would need to meet the needs of the varsity program. Respondents expressed support for keeping the Stadium within the existing area because it embraces UBC’s history, fosters varsity excellence, has a sound business case, and promotes health and wellbeing. We also heard concerns from the campus community regarding Options 3 (Rashpal Dhillon Track and Field Oval) and 4 (Reimagined Osborne Centre) for reasons of community fit (resident and academic).

A detailed consultation summary report will be posted in early 2017.

Emerging Direction

On December 6, 2016, the UBC Board of Governors approved a shortlist of options to be further explored for both the range of athletic and recreation facilities. The shortlisted options are:

War Memorial Gym (Recreation Hub):

  • Full renovation (Option B)
  • Full rebuild (Option C)


Thunderbird Football Stadium and Athletics Centre of Excellence (Spectator Hub):

  • Full Stadium renovation and expansion and Athletics Centre of Excellence in the existing location (Option 1b)
  • New Stadium and Athletics Centre of Excellence built on Whit Matthews Field (Option 2)
  • New Stadium built on Whit Matthews Field, the Athletics Centre of Excellence replacing the Tennis Bubble and a new Tennis Bubble built next to the Tennis Centre (Option 5)

The shortlisted options were recommended based on the input received during the fall public consultation, on the technical and financial analysis, as well as how they performed against the Board approved Guiding Principles.

The Board of Governors also directed staff to do further evaluation of funding sources for implementation of the Strategy, including incremental housing revenue (over and above what is projected through current plans, potentially through moving the Stadium to adjacent Whit Matthews Field), and other sources such as student and/or donor involvement.

Next Steps

Over the coming months, staff will continue technical analysis on the shortlisted options for War Memorial Gym, Thunderbird Stadium and the Athletic Centre of Excellence. Workshops on the shortlisted options were held with the campus community, partners and stakeholders in January 2017 and a final strategy will be brought forward for Board approval in spring 2017.

To stay up to date on this process, including information on the upcoming workshops, please sign up for the email list here.

The planning process for the 20-year Athletics Facilities Strategy will conclude with a final draft strategy being presented to the Board for approval in spring 2017. Following this, a planning process will begin for the future Stadium Road Neighbourhood, which would involve broad consultation with the campus community.

Specific capital projects identified in the strategy will be subject to UBC’s capital planning process in terms of prioritization, funding availability, as well as the Board of Governors’ standard project approval process.


Please contact Neal Wells, Manager, Communication and Engagement at neal.wells@ubc.ca or 604-822-0473.