Abracadabra: Overnight, college transforms into athletes’ village

Wednesday night, as if by magic, Yukon College will transform into the athletes’ village for the Canada Winter Games.

Wednesday night, as if by magic, Yukon College will transform into the athletes’ village for the Canada Winter Games.

Picture hundreds of volunteers scurrying around the campus moving furniture, setting up lounges, creating dining halls, movie rooms, workout facilities and internet cafes all for the purpose of keeping the athletes fed, fit and happy.

The transformation must happen overnight because the athletes take over the college on Thursday.

The opening ceremonies for the Games are Friday.

The main entrance of the college will be one of two entrances that the athletes will be using and will lead directly into the Pit where security badges will be checked.

The Pit will also feature displays by various sport bodies.

The campus bookstore will be transformed into the Blue Loon Café, where lunch and snack food will be available and where some of the official Games wear will be sold, said venue team leader Stu Mackay.

“The Games wear will be tailored to the athletes, featuring specific sports and teams,” said Mackay.

Upstairs will be slightly more restricted.

The medical services wing will be set up there, giving athletes access to nurses, physical therapy and massage.

An infirmary will be set up for the sick.

“The building will be equipped to accommodate 1,800 athletes and 200 to 300 volunteers per shift and these people will be hungry.

So the entire library will be packed up and turned into a dining hall that seats 600, while the college’s original dining hall will become the food service area.

Meals will be served three times a day, for three hours each; in between, stations will be set up for the students to snack.

“We call it grazing,” said Mackay.

“For example there will be a stir fry station, a pizza station, salad bars…”

“For the first few days it’s a guess at how much food will be needed to be prepared, but after that we will be able to estimate,” said Werner Holden, executive chef during the Games.

The main floor of the college will be the athletes’ entertainment area.

There will be a room called the Play Room that will be maxed out with Play Stations, X-Boxes and plasma televisions.

The Chill Room will have dance machines, pool tables and foosball tables.

There will be a studio with art supplies where athletes can express themselves creatively.

In addition, there will be a lounge where 100 local performers will entertain the athletes.

The athletes’ Silver Screen room will show movies until midnight and will be fitted with comfy chairs.

There is also a room called The Hub, which will be an internet café, without the food and drinks, but equipped with 160 computers.

Four major dances will be held in the college gym throughout the Games.

 “There will be a lot of action, but I think they’ll have a lot of fun,” said Mackay.

The Canada Games Host Society is covering all the expense of creating the athletes’ village.

“We went into this with an attitude of community service, not profit, but we will be left with significant legacies such as a 24-unit residence, a new college kitchen and new electrical wiring in the building,” said Wayne Coghill, director of administrative services for the college.

The athletes’ home base will be the two residences built behind the college.

They are dormitory style with four bunk beds set up in each of the three- to four-bedroom apartments.

The apartments in one building will later be converted into family dwellings for mature students.

Meanwhile, the athletes’ residence will be inspected by security three times a day to prevent vandalism.

There will be a strict midnight curfew and athletes will have their privileges revoked if they break it.

There will be just under 3,000 athletes housed in the two buildings over the duration of the Games.

Even the Yukon athletes will have to stay in the residences to create a level playing field where all youth have the same sleeping quarters and eat the same meals.