June 7, 2005
Stanford, California -
The university's Board of Trustees on Tuesday approved a plan to renovate Stanford Stadium to make it a more intimate sporting venue with modern amenities.
The trustees approved a concept plan presented by the Department of Athletics that will eliminate about 30,000 seats, bring existing stands closer to the field and modernize almost all facilities housed within the stadium, among other improvements. If approved by Santa Clara County, construction would begin after the 2005 football season ends on Nov. 26 and hopefully be completed in time for the 2006 season the following summer. The cost of the project is expected to be around $85 million.
"This plan looks terrific," said Burton McMurtry, chair of the Board of Trustees. "This has been percolating for a long time, and it's only recently that some wonderful ideas evolved."
Officials hope that the construction process can be accelerated so that the football team will not have to play any home games elsewhere, and university officials will work with community members to minimize the impacts of construction.
"During the summer, we will be working closely with Santa Clara County as the permitting agency to resolve questions that may arise during their review of the plans," said Jean McCown, director of community relations. "We also intend to consult with neighbors, the city of Palo Alto and campus residents regarding the project, particularly with respect to steps we plan to take to avoid potential impacts of the construction process itself."
A stadium renovation has been a high priority for Athletic Department and university officials, especially after a 2002 feasibility study indicated that much of the 84-year-old stadium's infrastructure had reached the end of its service life. According to the study, restroom and concession facilities were considered outdated and inadequate; the relationship of the field to the stands created substandard sightlines that rendered the first 14 rows unusable, partly because of the presence of a running track; and guest circulation and access was problematic because of extensive stairs and the narrowness of the corridors that guests use to get around the stadium.
The stadium, originally designed with engineering techniques borrowed from 2,000-year-old amphitheaters unearthed in Pompeii, also contained too many seats (85,800), the study found. There are many football games during which the stadium appears cavernous and less than half full, the study noted, and modern stadium criteria have trended toward smaller capacities closer to the action.
The proposed plan would address all of those issues while trying to maintain the architectural character of the stadium by retaining the earthen berm and the current extensive landscaping. Crews also would replace mechanical, plumbing, electrical and life-safety infrastructure with code-compliant systems.
If approved, the project will expand the facility by 30,693 gross square feet that will be allocated from the General Use Permit entitlement. The number of seats will be reduced to 50,858, and disabled-accessible seating will be increased to comply with federal guidelines. New restrooms, concessions and a press box also will be constructed.
"We are very excited about today's announcement and appreciate the support from the university for this project," Stanford Director of Athletics Ted Leland said. "This renovation will benefit both our student-athletes and our fans for years to come by creating an exciting atmosphere to play and watch football. We plan to give our community a first-rate facility to experience the thrill of collegiate football."
Stanford Stadium, which first opened in 1921, will undergo a major overhaul to build a state-of-the-art college football facility that creates a more intimate and comfortable game experience for both players and spectators.
The $90 million project, which is slated to finish within nine months, is funded by the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER) Investment Fund, as well as from alumni and friends of Stanford University. As a result, the construction is anticipated to be complete without incurring any long-term debt.
Starting November 2005, the following milestone events are projected to take place:
* November 19: The Big Game (Stanford vs Cal) - kickoff at 4:00pm. This will be the final Big Game competition between the Cardinal and Bears in the 84-year-old stadium before the New Stanford Stadium opens in Fall 2006.
* November 23: Stanford Stadium closes to the public.
* November 26: Stanford Football's 2005 season closer against Notre Dame - kickoff at 5:00pm. Stadium Tribute will take place during halftime. Stadium decommission will begin immediately following the Notre Dame game.
* November 28: Excavation of existing Stanford Stadium. Construction is scheduled to take place six days a week (two, 8-hour shifts/day).
* December 2005: Lower Bowl and new tunnel construction begins
* February 2006: Upper Bowl and Press Box construction begins
* July 2006: Field installation begins
* September 2006: Final inspections
|Playing Surface: East to West
|Playing Surface: North to South
|Field Grade (feet below ground)
|Horizontal Distance from First Usable Seat to Sideline (at 50 yard line, sunny)
|Horizontal Distance from Outermost Seat to Sideline (at 50 Yard Line)
|Horizontal Distance from First Usable Seats to Endzone (in Endzone)
|Horizontal Distance from Outermost Seat to Endzone (in Endzone)
|Horizontal Distance from Press Box First Floor to Sideline
|Number of Rows of Stadium Seating
||80 (all around)
||25 (lower, all around)
43 (upper, sides)
22 (upper, ends)
30 (upper, front of box)
|Disabled Seating/Companion Seating
|Width of Stadium Seat
|Tread Width of Stadium Seat (leg room)
|Press Box Seats (spectators)
|Width of Press Box Hallway
|Permanent Concession Counter Space
|Concession Points of Sale
|Width of Ingress/Egress Tunnels
|Width of Mineshaft
|Scoreboard/Video Board: North End Zone
|Scoreboard/Video Board: South End Zone
|Distributed Sound System
|Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessible
|Closed Circuit Television in All Concession Stands
|Concessions—Speakers for Radio and/or In-House Television System
|Emergency Evacuation System with Back-Up
Why change the stadium? What's wrong with it?
Since 1921, Stanford Stadium has served the Stanford community
well. But after eight decades of use, it was determined that the stadium's
infrastructure had reached the end of its service life. The venue was
considered outdated and inadequate for a comfortable game experience.
Additionally, the relationship of the field to the stands created substandard
sightlines that rendered the first 14 rows unusable, partly because of the presence
of a running track. Guest circulation, ingress, and egress were also considered
to be substandard because of the narrowness of the "mineshaft" and
the extensive stairs. Finally, the mineshaft needed additional structural
strengthening because of the presence of dry rot.
When will the new stadium open?
With construction beginning immediately following the November 26
game against Notre Dame, the New Stanford Stadium is slated to open in
What is the cost for the new stadium? How is it being funded?
The New Stanford Stadium project is estimated to cost $90 million.
The Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER)
Investment Fund, alumni and friends of Stanford University will privately
finance the project. As a result, the construction is anticipated to be
complete without incurring any long-term debt.
What significant improvements will be made to the stadium?
The New Stanford Stadium project calls for a number of improved amenities, including:
* Decrease stadium capacity to 50,000 seats, creating a more cozy and electrifying game experience;
* Removal of track and fencing to enhance sightlines bringing spectators 70-100 feet closer to the field of action;
* More comfortable seating with increased leg room (convert benches to armchair seats on sidelines; seatbacks in end zones);
* Improved guest access with three new tunnels (seven total) and better circulation via expanded lower bowl concourse and new upper bowl concourse
* New and increased number of restrooms; all restrooms will have universal restroom speakers;
* New concessions with closed circuit TV at all concession stands;
* A dynamically distributed sound system and a new matrix video board at South End Scoreboard;
* New and expanded press box;
* More reliable, low maintenance synthetic turf; and
* Improved ADA accessibility and increased seating for disabled
I hear that Stanford Stadium will be adding
premium "club level" seating and suites in the press box. Is this
accurate? If so, why?
We are improving the quality of the facility as an event venue
with the appropriate levels of services, convenience, and comfort for guests.
We are maintaining club level seats and seats in the press box in proportion to
what Stanford Stadium had previously.
How will the external structure of the stadium be
The proposed plan will maintain the architectural character of the
stadium by retaining the earthen berm and the current extensive landscaping of
the current stadium.
What is the capacity of the new stadium?
The New Stanford Stadium will decrease capacity to accommodate
approximately 50,500 patrons, creating a cozier and more electrifying game
experience. The new stadium will be a two-tiered bowl, in which the lower bowl
capacity will hold approximately 21,000 and the upper bowl will hold 29,000.
Why is Stanford downsizing the stadium?
Stanford Athletics made a decision to downsize the stadium seat
capacity based on the following reasons: (1) Historical ticket sales for home
games indicate a gradual decline in attendance; and (2) Current stadium design
and occupancy lends itself to a cavernous setting; therefore, reducing seat
capacity will create a more intimate, up-close game day experience for all our
How will removing the track improve the stadium?
Removing the track will bring spectators 70-100 feet closer to the
field of action, which is largely the reason why the sightlines have been
Will the new stadium have artificial turf?
Yes. The new playing surface will be an in-fill synthetic turf and
it is infinitely better in terms of quality and aesthetics than the Astroturf
that was the cause of so many injuries in the earlier eras. Synthetic turf will
also save 4 million gallons of water a year. Eight of the ten schools within
the Pac-10 conference will be utilizing this low maintenance artificial turf by
the time Stanford Stadium is complete.
Will the new stadium upgrade its sound system?
Yes, one of the major features of the new stadium will be an
improved distributed sound system, which will improve the sound throughout the
concourse, as well as in the restrooms.
Will the sightlines be visible from the concourses?
The main circulation concourse that separates the lower bowl from the upper bowl
will be similar to that at SBC Park where you can see the field from the inner
edge. The upper two concourses are for the most part "open-air" and will also
provide viewing to the field, especially the inner ring at the top of the berm.
Will permanent lighting be added in the stadium?
The stadium's current lighting is permanent and will remain.
Lighting outside of the stadium (in the parking and the paved walkways) will
Will additional parking be available at the new
There are no plans at this time to expand parking.
How will egress and ingress be improved within
Three new tunnels will be built in the new stadium, allowing
guests improved access into and out of the stadium. The tunnels will be
expanded from 4 ft to 7 ft wide for better circulation. Also, an expanded lower
concourse and a new upper concourse will enable better circulation throughout
the stadium. The concourse will be expanded from 7 ft to 60 ft.
What will be the best view/seat in the new stadium?
Because we are removing the track and bringing spectators closer
to the field of action all seats in the new stadium will offer better views
than that of the current stadium.
Will there be opportunities to purchase
merchandise at the new stadium?
Yes, merchandise will be sold in specific areas
of the stadium.
Will the Press Box be enhanced? How?
Yes, one of the major features of the new stadium will be a new
and expanded press box. The old press box
is being demolished and an entirely new 4 level press box is being built.
At this time we are working on all
amenties and features of the new press box. As updates becomes available we
look forward to sharing them with you.
Will there be a Grand Opening Event for the new stadium?
Yes, just as we will have a Final Tribute Ceremony for the closing
of the old stadium, we will also have a Grand Opening event for the new
stadium. Once we finalize the planning of our grand opening, information will be
Will the architectural integrity of Stanford Stadium be
The new Stadium will retain the architectural character of the
current stadium by retaining the earthen berm and current landscaping. The
insertion of new stadium elements within the confines of the existing landscape
will result in a modern facility that maintains much of the character and feel
of the old stadium. It will be completed within the current stadium's