Feasibility Study and Building Program
for a Whitehorse Indoor Soccer Centre
Executive Summary

Phase 2 of the feasibility study for an indoor soccer centre in Whitehorse is designed to build on the findings of the needs analysis of Phase 1.

Demand forecast:

Building on the demand forecasts of Phase 1 and using the experience of other Canadian communities that have built an indoor soccer facility, this paper forecasts likely demand for indoor soccer in Whitehorse. In every other community that has built an indoor soccer centre, there has been a surge in the popularity of the sport. However, Whitehorse already has a very high participation rate in youth indoor soccer compared to its population. While there will likely be an increase in participation, it may not be as dramatic as other communities. The adult demand for indoor soccer is likely to rise if a centre is built.

Size of facility

This paper evaluates the options of a one-field, two-field or a three-field facility based on the above demand forecasts and the experiences of other communities. A one-field facility would be inadequate. Building a one-field facility would be a false economy as adding a second field at a later date would be costlier than building two-fields at the onset. There is a need for a two-field facility. The current demand would fill a two-field facility almost full-time during the season. Doubling up the use of fields by younger teams and slightly increasing the size of teams may accommodate some of the increase in demand, but not necessarily all. A substantial increase in demand would require the continued use of gym space for soccer even if a two-field facility were built.

Cost & fees

Phase 2 examines the effects of costs and fees on the popularity of the sport and estimates the effect of different fee regimes on participation. Higher fees definitely discourage participation. However, even when fees more than doubled following the opening of the Red Deer centre, participation still increased (although not as much as was expected).

Site analysis

This paper reviews and evaluates eleven different location options for an indoor soccer facility in Whitehorse.

The best option is to build a new facility at the F.H. Collins site (which would be attached to a new school once it is built). The area used for indoor soccer would not conflict with land claims selections.

A potentially satisfactory second option, examined at the suggestion of City of Whitehorse staff, is the Takhini Arena. A new indoor soccer pitch could be added and the existing ice surface would eventually be converted from hockey to a second indoor soccer pitch once the two new hockey arenas are built at the Multiplex. The City has been planning to close one hockey arena once the new ones have been built.

Assuming decisions were made immediately it might be possible to have the building open January 1, 2003. A more realistic schedule would delay the opening to September 2003.

Capital costs

A stand-alone new building would be about 5,179m2 or 56,000 square feet. Total cost would be about $4,832,420 including all professional fees and GST.

Converting the ice surface to an indoor soccer pitch and adding an additional pitch to the Takhini Arena would require 2,825m2 (30,505 sq. ft.) of new construction, costing $3,026,000 including all professional fees and GST.

Operating costs

Under a reasonable operating cost and revenue scenario, operating an indoor soccer centre would cost between $250,000 and $290,000 per year. Revenues – under a conservative scenario – would amount to between $150,000 and $175,000 annually. Revenue assumptions are based on an increase in registration fees to $100 per player, and a modest increase to about 700 indoor soccer players from the current 600. In addition, other sport users would pay fees of about $45,000 per year. Other revenues are based on a similar facility in Whitehorse (i.e. the Takhini Arena). Under these assumptions, revenues would cover about 60% of costs, higher than the City’s policy of 41% cost recovery. Even if other sports paid no user fees, the facility would nevertheless more than meet the City’s 41% cost recovery policy. There is substantial scope for increasing revenues beyond our estimates. Many centres, even those in smaller communities, (e.g. Lethbridge AB and Prince Albert SK) actually operate at a profit.

Additional revenues are possible through using the centre for other sports during the summer and for special events. The centre would have to raise an additional $100,000 per year in additional revenues to become self-sufficient.

Multi-use

Although it would be used primarily by soccer during the indoor season, the centre would also function effectively as a multi-use facility. Schools would doubtless use the large space during the day for a variety of physical education programs and possibly special events. Other communities use their centres for a wide variety of other sports and extensive other uses. The inclusion of a running track would allow use by everyone from high-performance athletes in training to senior’s indoor walking programs. Summer use could include roller hockey, indoor tennis, etc.. Because of the flexible nature of the space, an indoor soccer facility could well be a substitute for the planned flexihall at the Multiplex.

Recommendations

  1. Construction should start on a two-field indoor soccer facility as soon as possible to meet current needs and free-up school gymnasium space for other sports.
  2. The new facility should also incorporate space for: kitchen, lounge, concession and running track. The needs of other sports such as climbing should also be examined.
  3. The preferred location would be the F.H. Collins site, with an eventual connection to the new high school.
  4. Whitehorse Minor Soccer and other interested soccer groups should immediately begin discussions and negotiations with the City of Whitehorse and the Yukon Government Department of Education on building and operating the facility. The negotiations should cover the cost of constructing and operating the facility, as well as how it should be managed.
  5. If built at the Takhini arena, the facility should be run by an independent organisation to allow the maximum use of volunteer labour and a lower cost to the City. If this option is chosen, the City should seriously consider advancing the construction of the two hockey arenas at the Multiplex site to accommodate both hockey and indoor soccer.

Feasibility Main   Phase One Executive Summary   Indoor Centre Main

posted 28 January, 2002