Sport Architecture

Since 1983, the students and faculty at the University of Alberta (U of A) have benefited from state-of-the-art track & field facilities in the 5,000 square meters Butterdome – a sports complex that now features a Mondotrack SX competition surface throughout.


The Butterdome

Officially named the Universiade Pavilion, the Butterdome was built for a dual celebration of the University’s 75th Anniversary and the hosting of the World Universiade Games. With seating for up to 10,000, the Butterdome is a hotbed of collegiate track & field activity and court sports, from intramurals on up to international competitions.


Not just another pretty building

Representing the University's colors of green and gold, the Butterdome is clad with bright. light gold colored porcelain enamel panels giving it the look of a giant block of butter; hence the "Butterdome" name.

The primary purpose of this facility is for the University to operate a high-level sports training center. However, it can also hold many other functions – from special events to conducting exams to holding orientation meetings for new students at the beginning of the year.

On with the new

The original flooring for the Butterdome was Mondotrack Super-X, which stood up to a significant amount of traffic in all forms. In 2009, a major renovation was undertaken to bring the facility up to the latest standards in sport technology.

The Butterdome is the only indoor track in North America that has a 12-lane straightaway and a seven-lane oval. With alternating green and gold colored lanes, this visually exciting design is practical for the athletes and officials while also making track & field events exciting for the spectators.

Specialists with a passion

Cannon Design’s Vancouver office began working with the U of A to rejuvenate the aging facility after 27 years with the original flooring. “The original Mondotrack Super-X floor was still in fairly good condition, but it was starting to look its age,” says Doug Wournell, vice-president of the international architectural firm of Cannon Design. “There were also a few noticeable repairs because of damage done by various activities. It was time to put a new surface down and the U of A chose the Mondotrack once again, largely due to its proven durability.”

Wournell notes there have been significant upgrades in the quality of Mondotrack since its first installation at the U of A. “The new Mondotrack SX is the same surface that was used at the Bird’s Nest stadium at the Beijing Olympics,” he says. “Durability is the number one reason we chose Mondo, but it is also the preferred surface for track & field athletes. Impact, speed and comfort are the premier considerations for track surfaces. “

All in favor of Mondo flooring

Not only did the architectural team feel Mondo was the best choice in flooring, staff at the University’s Track & Field office agreed. “I always had it in the back of my mind that I’d like to have the aging floors at the University replaced with the latest in Mondo flooring,” says Georgette Reed, head coach of the U of A Track, Field and Cross Country Program.

“When it came time to replace the floor at the University, the decision makers kept looking at options that were the most cost effective, but I kept pushing Mondo,” says Reed. “Finally it came to light that Mondo was the best choice as our facility gets used a lot, and Mondo can withstand the extensive wear and tear.”

While the floor is able to go through a lot of wear and tear, it still needs to be a fast surface for track and field. “Because we had the Mondo product installed, we were awarded the 2013 and 2014 National Championships. I’m very excited about that,” says Reed.

Multipurpose usage passes the test

Along with the track & field events, the Butterdome has over a million users each year with activities such as football, rugby, tennis, indoor soccer, and craft shows and exhibitions.

“The inside area of the running oval also has Mondotrack SX laid down to accommodate the other sports functions, including high jump, long jump and pole vault,” says Wournell. “Mondo has superb court surfaces, but there are other gymnasiums at the University for those activities. The Butterdome was designed for high-level track & field activities. With the Mondotrack SX flooring, however, this facility can host everything from local events on up to national and international events, which makes it an outstanding resource for the University. “

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