I noticed that the university posted some new information about the stadium renovation, so I thought I would summarize it here for anyone that is interested. The entire 141 page document can be found here. This document is an EIR addendum to the Southeast Campus Projects specific for the stadium west side renovation project.
The EIR approval for the west side renovation is scheduled to be approved at the next UC Regents meeting [Jan 19-21]. This is the final approval needed for the renovation to proceed. Construction preparations will begin in the spring of 2010, with the major work beginning after the conclusion of the 2010 football season. We will be playing the 2011 season off-site as everyone is well aware of by now. The stadium will be ready in time for the 2012 season.
The west side of Memorial Stadium will look something like this when the renovation is complete:
Some interesting points mentioned in the report:
1. The field will be lowered 4 to 6 feet, an additional 2 feet below the original proposal. After further study of the sightlines, the conclusion was reached that in order to have reasonable sightlines from the lowest seats, sinking the playing surface 4 to 6 feet from its current level will be required.
2. Witter Rugby Field will be converted to synthetic turf for practice use by the football team. Currently a grass field, Witter Field will be resurfaced in time for for 2011 spring practice and will remain the football team's practice field until the stadium is ready for the 2012 season.
3. In addition to the conversion of Witter Field to turf, temporary structures will be constructed along Centennial Drive in Strawberry Canyon for locker rooms and other functions. This answers the question of where the team will be located after the 2010 season until the SAHPC is completed in fall 2011. Details from the text:
During construction of the CMS West, and up until the completion of the SAHPC, the existing non-event
CMS functions (including equipment storage, offices, meeting rooms, sports medicine, locker rooms) will
be temporarily housed in modular trailers (approximately 17,000 GSF) and one tensile structure
(approximately 10,400 GSF – a tensile structure allows for more flexible space use). The trailers and the
tensile structure will be placed east of the CMS, primarily on existing paved surfaces: the parking area
north of Witter Field and the existing asphalt at the northeast corner of Rim Way and Centennial Drive.
4. Sweet, a pool is being converted into a kitchen.
The upper pool area of the Strawberry Canyon pool, currently closed, will be the site for a mobile
temporary kitchen and prep area for the provision of team meals. The upper floor of the Haas Clubhouse
will be used as a dining and meeting area.
5. No larger video screen. Looks like we won't be getting a Cowboys Stadium style 160x72 ft. scoreboard. At least this is what I can gather from the vaguely worded section describing advertising and signage. Any new video board would be installed at a later time, possibly during the east side renovation. There will be new LCD displays to replace the existing scoreboards on both sides of the stadium.
The Project would not alter the length or height of the existing scoreboard tablature but does include the replacement of the light bulb style scoreboard with a fully flexible color video/information display screen. This new equipment will be designed to fit within and complement the historic elements.
6. A possible addition of a 15,000 sq. ft service center located at the northern edge of the planned grand stair entrance. Also note, the proposed underground parking structure beneath Maxwell field adjacent to the stadium is still a possibility. Most of us were under the impression that UC agreed to drop plans for the parking structure next to Memorial Stadium in the lawsuit settlement with the city. According to this recent document, that is not the case.
The Athletic Service Center would consist of a low wall along the northern edge of the grand stair to incorporate an event day ticketing facility and bathrooms, and a loading dock area that would tuck in under the edge of the SAHPC plaza, south of Maxwell Family Field. East of the new stair 11 ticketing windows will be inserted under the SAHPC terrace, facing Maxwell Family Field. East of the ticketing windows will be a loading dock entrance, sloping down under the SAHPC terrace.
It's interesting that at this late stage of planning the service center is still not definitively planned given that the financing for the project has already been approved. It sounds like the loading dock would be then be relocated into the Maxwell Field parking structure if that project is ultimately completed.
In the indefinite interim period before Maxwell Family Field Parking Structure is constructed, the CMS West project seeks to address service and loading needs, event support, and complete the grand stair.
7. Official seating capacity would be reduced to 63,200 from the current 72,500. As a result of wider seats and entry tunnels, the newly renovated west side of Memorial Stadium will result in a loss of almost 10,000 seats. I didn't find any information about how the seating will change outside of the club areas. We all know about the chairback seats being installed in the club sections, but I haven't read much about seating in the other renovated sections. Funny, isn't it, how all the attention is given to the big donor seating. I would hope that there will be at least some increase in seat depth because no one enjoys having giant knees pressed into their back when the stadium is at capacity. I think a good solution is to recycle the sturdy metal benches that are currently in place in the prime donor sections further toward the end zone sections because I can't imagine that the splintered wood benches will be left in place. At least I hope and pray that is not the case.
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