Our Story - August 2011
In 2001, David Dorward began to act on his vision of honouring the storied Edmonton Grads Basketball Team. He dreamed of building one of the largest facilities in North America where everyone could play the great game of basketball. So began the story of how a strong vision, cooperation and volunteers can make something happen.
Dorward looked to partner with other sports’ organizations that were also seeking new facilities. The intent of this partnership was to help with funding, organization and provision of a base of volunteers. Ortona Gymnastics was the first organization to partner with the Edmonton Grads Centre, and the GO Centre was formed.
In 2004, the Alberta Volleyball Association (AVA) was also looking for space and joined the project. To do this, the AVA brought together several volleyball clubs to form the Edmonton Volleyball Centre Society (EVCS). The EVCS became a partner in the GO Centre and contributed further volunteer hours and funding.
The City of Edmonton made the first commitment. With the support of the Edmonton City Council, the project moved forward and gained momentum.
In the summer of 2007, discussions began inviting the University of Alberta to become another partner in the project. The University of Alberta’s contributions included land for the building, funding, provision of services, and integration of infrastructure on South Campus. The addition of the University of Alberta as a partner further invigorated the project, assured a broader use of the facility and permitted access for academic and recreation programs as well as high performance athletes in the form of the CIS Basketball and Volleyball teams.
Shortly after the University of Alberta became a partner, the project received its first substantial funding of $10M from the Government of Alberta through the Major Community Facilities Program. This donation, along with a commitment from the City of Edmonton for $9M, ensured that the facility would become a reality.
In 2009, the Government of Canada announced that it would be contributing up to $14.8M through its Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. These funding contributions from the three levels of government, along with partner and private donations, allowed the project to proceed.
Initially in 2002, the board valued the project at about $8M. Over the years and with the addition of new partners, the value of the project increased substantially. The project costs escalated to $38M and during the economic boom of 2007, projected costs rose as high as $60M. With the onset of the economic recession, the value of the project eventually settled at $37M. The required funding was secured prior to the start of construction.
During the early stages of development a professional oversight board was established. These individuals gave generously their time and professional skills. These talented and generous volunteers have been critical to our success. They contributed over 15,000 hours of volunteer time; their sweat equity is valued in excess of $3M. Over the years, the GO Centre staff and many more volunteers assisted in the development of the project. Their long hours and dedication contributed to the success of this project.
This facility is a testament to a strong vision, volunteer commitment and cooperation between organizations. As a result of driven volunteers, strong partners and the support of the three levels of government, this facility has become a reality.