The Oregonian and the RG have had a series of stories about the secretive plans to tear down Hayward Field’s east grandstand as part of the effort to put a 30,000 seat stadium on Agate for the state-subsidized IAAF 2021 track championships.
The original design by architect and Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield, a former UO pole vaulter, has been scrapped.
Hatfield’s design, renderings of which the UO Foundation put on its website, attempted to incorporate changes required by the sport’s governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, while retaining the current feel of the stadium.
At some point, Hatfield was leveraged out of the project, according to sources familiar with the project who requested anonymity because they’re not authorized to speak publicly about it. Howard Slusher, longtime troubleshooter for Nike co-founder Phil Knight, took over as project manager. The architectural firm SRG Partnership was brought in to create an entirely different design.
— Word continues to filter out about the size and scale of the Hayward Field renovation project, the cost of which I’m hearing now tops $200 million.
That is a long way from an original estimate I saw of $60 million. And it’s probably in line with the apparent decision to tear down completely the existing stadium and replace it with something University of Oregon Foundation president and CEO Paul Weinhold calls “spectacular.”
There is some angst in Oregon’s track and field community about the loss of the historic east grandstand, and some concern about replacing a stadium that now has about 8,500 permanent seats with one that might have as many as 14,000.
The concern would be whether the new stadium will be too big and too grand for anything it will be called upon to stage after the 2021 World Outdoor Championships depart, and whether that will lead to the loss of synergy between fans and athletes popularly known as Hayward Magic.
Portland Track, the organization that puts on the Portland Track Festival and Stumptown Twilight track meets, has jumped into the controversy with an editorial in support of the east grandstand.
Here is the editorial, which appears on the Portland Track website.
It reads, in part:
“Our favorite place to sit at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field is the 5,000 start line in the east grandstand. The cheap seats. The atmosphere is loose, it’s where the athletes sit after they are done competing, and it’s where you need to be to take splits for the 5k and steeple. As a bonus you can take in the 1,500m runners as they stride out before their races, you see the 200m sprinters preparing that explosive start, and the victory laps slow down a bit as the victors take the time for selfies and autographs for fans that crowd the front row. … “
And here’s last week’s RG story, by Austin Meek and Chris Hansen:
The university says it has found that design — which includes a complete teardown of the East Grandstand, once slated for partial preservation — and will unveil plans to the public next month. But some stakeholders, including the son of legendary Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman, have expressed concern about what they see as a lack of transparency surrounding the project.
“I definitely support the idea of the renovation, but I worry (about) the direction it’s going right now, without public input, and without disclosure, and without the opportunity for stakeholders to participate and share in ownership of it,” Jay Bowerman said.
Good luck with that. Just a few weeks ago the UO administration was assuring the Senate that they wouldn’t even put astroturf next to the riverfront without a public process that included input from the Campus Planning Committee and a modification to the Campus Plan. But it turns out they are going to tear down the “historic” Hayward Field grandstand and replace it with a new and shiny $200M bauble without bothering with any of that.
From the CPC agenda for Friday, April 6, 2018 from 10am – 12pm in Johnson Hall Room 105. All meetings are open to the public. Public Records below, such as they are:
3. 15th Avenue Axis Improvements – Update
Background: The purpose of this agenda item is to provide the CPC with information on the plans for 15th Avenue Axis improvements which are proposed as part of the Hayward Field Project.
The CPC first discussed the Hayward Field Project at its December 10, 2015 meeting. Members supported the chair’s suggestion to provide recommendations to the president on behalf of the CPC about opportunities for this project to improve campus-wide linkages (refer to attached memorandum).
On June 5, 2016, the CPC Chair at the time received a memorandum from the Vice President for Finance and Administration thanking the CPC for its interest and advisory role regarding campus development, con rming the designation of the Hayward Field Project as a Track C Project per the Campus Plan and the President’s determination that formal review by the CPC would not be necessary.
Please also see the attached Campus Plan and Framework Vision Project recommendations for 15th Avenue Axis for more information.
Action: No formal action is requested.
Hayward Field - CPC Letter