Pres Schill says no to Campus Planning Committee review of Hayward Field grandstand teardown and new $200M Knight egofice

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

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15 Responses to Pres Schill says no to Campus Planning Committee review of Hayward Field grandstand teardown and new $200M Knight egofice

  1. Just Another Volunteer says:

    I miss the games at Civic as well – I wonder what it would take to move the East Grandstand to Civic Field? They’re due to start construction this year – maybe they can use the bits and pieces.

  2. Dog says:

    Yet more style over substance – that is the UO’s universe and clearly its value system (except for actual good classrooms for students,
    but that dead horse is really dead)

    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      I remember the appeal of the Emeralds baseball team back when they played in the old Civic Stadium, before it burned to the ground.

      After their move to PK park, their appeal to me went pretty close to zero.

      I’m not a total nostalgia freak, and I do understand that facilities wear out, and I’m glad there’s Uncle Phil to pay for this at UO. (Though I wish he’d have more consideration for the neighbors who have to suffer for the lack of adequate infrastructure, e.g. parking.) But the basketball arena, the jock box, perhaps the new track facility will leave me cold. The Knight campus? We’ll see.

  3. Charlie says:

    Wait, wasn’t the cost of Matt Knight $250 million? Some reports I read stated $200 million. How the hell does the proposed new Hayward wing cost anywhere near that much? Is it gonna feature hot buffets and hosted bars? Seriously, what’s going on here????

  4. anonymous says:

    What about the $ for maintenance? Where will that $ come from? $ for materials and staff?

    Just more expensive administrators building expensive palaces to pad their CV’s.


  5. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Privately financed or not, it’s still public space, public land. It will be another huge imposition on a neighborhood that is already under tremendous strain from a campus that has outgrown its original modest dimensions. All for the egotistical indulgence of a small number, one man some might say.

    Oh, maybe there’s still the dream of a huge final infusion of money into the “academic side.” I have been waiting for decades now.

    • uomatters says:

      $500M isn’t huge?

      • honest Uncle Bernie says:

        I’m talking about a final large gift to the old “south campus.” I will believe it only when it happens.

    • Charlie says:

      Bernie, I have a strong suspicion that any debt used for this boondoggle is going to use student loans as collateral. No other guaranteed cash flow exists at U of Owe. The bond holders don’t want an athletic venue, or any of the other ridiculous campus building projects. They want in on that windfall of fed guaranteed loan proceeds. I hope I’m wrong, because if I’m not, this would be game, set and match for UOwe remaing a public institution….

      • uomatters says:

        Neither UO nor the UO Foundation has said they will borrow money for deHayward Field. Of course foundation CEO Paul Weinhold has decided they are exempt from public records requests, so who really knows?

        • Charlie says:

          Sorry, at this point, no UOwe functionary can be trusted. Unless all financing documents are released, then I’ll have think the flagship has jumped the shark…,

    • UO Community member says:

      While I do not agree with most of Knight’s athletic gifts, I don’t think he is the kind of guy that wants his name plastered everywhere.

      Knight and Lokey have given UO more than it deserves. $700 million combined in gifts and pledges (excluding athletics). I’m sure Knight has contributed millions to the academic side that public doesn’t know about too.

      It’s time for the Democrat led State of Oregon to step up.

  6. Charlie says:

    From what I gather, this is going to be privately financed. That’s putatively the rational for no public oversight. But how is the debt going to be serviced? How many profitable track meets are going to be run? Hayward is going to be idle more of the year than Matt Arena, how’s it logically going to pay for itself? And if debt is used, and I’m guessing it will be, what’s the collateral? It sure as hell ain’t the stadium….

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