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Gerald J. Ford Stadium

Gerald J. Ford Stadium

  Venue Particulars  
Address 5800 Ownby Drive
Dallas, TX 75205
Phone (214) 768-4263
Seating Weather
Satellite View
  Venue Resources  
Hotels, Dining & Deals in Dallas

  The Facility  
Date Opened September 2, 2000
Southern Methodist University
(Southern Methodist University)
Surface FieldTurf
Cost of Construction $42 Million
Stadium Financing Privately
Stadium Architect Ellerbe Becket
Capacity 32,000
Luxury Suites 24 Suites
Club Seats 600
  Other Facts  
Tenants SMU Mustangs
(NCAA) (2000–Present)
Population Base 3,500,000
On Site Parking Unknown
Nearest Airport Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)

Championships 1st

Sources: Mediaventures

Gerald J. Ford Stadium

In the history of the SMU football program, June 13, 1997 and September 2, 2000, may stand out as the most significant days since the program's inception in 1915.

The first date is when University officials announced that significant funds had been raised to begin construction on the brand new Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

The second is the date that Mustang football returned to campus with the inaugural game in the stadium against Kansas. The state-of-the-art facility would not have been possible without the generous donations of Gerald J. Ford, Lamar and Norma Hunt, Ray L. and Nancy Ann Hunt, and Sherrill and Jo Ann Pettus, all of whom are SMU alumni.

Gerald J. Ford Stadium, finished in August of 2000 on the former Ownby Stadium grounds, has a horseshoe configuration with an open south end zone adjacent to Mockingbird Lane. The architecture is consistent with the Collegiate-Georgian style of the entire SMU campus and features traditional, yet state-of-the-art design concepts.

The stadium has a seating capacity of 32,000 with the possibility for future expansion to 45,000. The 32,000-seat configuration includes nearly 600 preferred club level seats and 240 seats in 24 spacious luxury suites housed in a custom, three-level press box. In addition to housing preferred club and suite seating, the air-conditioned press box provides excellent sightlines and comfortably accommodates more than 125 working print, radio and television media. The playing surface is 25 feet below ground level, with half of the stadium's seats sunk below grade, ensuring a smooth transition into the surrounding neighborhood and the remainder of the SMU campus.

Ford Stadium was designed by the sports and entertainment design division of Ellerbe Becket, Inc., an architectural firm based in Kansas City, Mo.

May 7, 1998 - James Pecht writes: Crews will begin construction this year on the new Gerald J. Ford Stadium and all-sports facility to be located on the SMU campus. Although SMU has a long history with the Cotton Bowl (you mention it as "The House that Doak Built"), the university wanted to move its team back home to the Hilltop. The school announced plans for Ford Stadium last year (June 1997). It will seat about 30,000, will be horseshoe-shaped and will be a natural grass facility.

You can find more information on this new stadium by visiting the web site of the campus newspaper, The Daily Campus. Look in the Archives for the month of June. There you will find all the facts and a web picture of the Artist's rendering.

If I recall correctly, it's the first major stadium announcement by a Division I school for quite some time.

SMU To Break Ground On New Stadium

Kansas City, Mo. -- Southern Methodist University will break ground Sept. 10 for construction of the Gerald J. Ford Stadium and All-Sports Center on the SMU campus.

Gerald J. Ford Stadium, which will host its first home game in September of 2000, will bring football back to the SMU campus. Located on the site of Ownby Stadium, the new facility will have a horseshoe configuration with an open south end zone. The architecture will be consistent with the Collegiate-Georgian style of the entire SMU campus and will feature traditional, yet state-of-the are design concepts. Initial design call for 32,000 seats, with the possibility of future expansion to 45,000.

The stadium includes more than 530 preferred club-level seats and 300 seats in 23 luxury suites to be housed in a three-level press box. Field level will be 24 feet below ground level, with nearly half of the stadium?s seats sunken below grade, ensuring a smooth transition into the surrounding neighborhood and the remainder of the SMU campus.

An All-Sports Center will be attached to the northwest corner of the new stadium and will provide all Mustang student-athletes with several improvements, including:

* offices and locker facilities
* new state-of-the-art weight room
* sports medicine complex
* additional facilities for expanded women?s athletics
* ticket facilities
* permanent merchandise an novelty store
* Learning Enhancement Center
* Heritage Hall

CONTACT: Stuart Smith,
Director of Communications at Ellerbe Becket

Gerald J. Ford Stadium & All Sports Center
Design Narrative

Gerald J. Ford Stadium, which will host its first home game in September of 2000, is bringing football back to the Hilltop! Located on the southeast corner of campus, on the site of Ownby Stadium, Ford Stadium is designed to provide a fully-modern, yet tradition-laden college football experience.

The layout of Ford Stadium is a "horseshoe"-shaped bowl, with the open end facing Mockingbird Lane. This arrangement helps maintain the green space so prevalent along Mockingbird in the Park Cities. The playing field is recessed 24 feet below ground, the purpose of which is twofold: first, it creates an intimate bowl, with 24 rows above ground and 24 below. Even the last rows have great views and feel like a part of the action. Second, it allows the Stadium to be a ?good neighbor? both to the rest of the campus and surrounding areas--by recessing the playing field, the exterior wall is held to between 35-40 feet instead of 60-75 feet tall. The open end of the bowl also allows for sloped grass seating and an area for corporate tents, creating a festival atmosphere. Ford Stadium will seat 32,000, distributed among the general, club, and suite seats.

Ford Stadium?s location provides an ideal anchor on the southeast corner of campus for the "Athletics Quad". With athletic facilities such as Moody Coliseum, the Dedman Center, and the Morrison-Bell Track surrounding it, the Stadium and adjoining All Sports Center will become the center of the SMU athletics universe. This cohesive fit, which works into the overall master plan for the university, helps to define the campus for students, faculty, visitors, and recruits. Two new full practice fields are located to the west of the Ford Stadium. The natural turf fields, with a state-of-the-art below soil drainage system, should withstand the pressure of 5-10 practices a week and wet weather during the football season.

Ford Stadium will be fully accessible to all patrons. The simple configuration of the seating bowl will allow wheelchair-bound patrons to enter directly through the same portals as other patrons, and immediately wheel into locations at the top of the lower rows. These locations are provided around the circumference of the bowl. In addition, the seating section is designed so that a wheelchair-bound fan can see over a fan who

stands in front of them. All restrooms and concession stands are designed to meet accessible standards. The All Sports Center and Press Box are served with elevators to allow access to all levels of seating, offices, training facilities, and the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center. Accessible parking spots are located closest to the building on the north side, and accessible entrances are clearly marked with attractive signage.

The design of the Ford Stadium and All Sports Center is intended to reflect the heritage of Ownby Stadium and the design vocabulary of Southern Methodist University, yet also convey a sense of excitement for game days and the athletics program. The familiar details of an SMU building are found in the new facility?from the eclectic brick blend to the warm colored stone and arched walkways?even a domed cap to the entry of the All Sports Center. In addition, there are soaring glass windows facing the campus, and a modern feel to the press box side which faces the field, bringing the sights and sounds of football straight into the fans and media in the Press Box.

Immediately to the west of the Ford Stadium will be the new Meadows Museum, home to a renowned collection of Spanish art. The Museum, which will be raised on a platform above Bishop Boulevard, will engage the pedestrian visitor with a lush sculpture garden, wrapping the building on its north, west, and south facades. The Stadium and All Sports Center will share a paved plaza street with the east side of the Museum. Under the Museum will be a two-story parking garage, with many of the spaces being dedicated to Ford Stadium fans on game day.

Ford Stadium is composed of 28 seating sections in the lower bowl and 28 sections in the upper, fed by 28 portals leading from the concourse to the bowl. Seven entry gates are distributed around the Stadium perimeter, clearly marked for fans approaching by foot or by car. The Stadium concourse will house restrooms and concessions between the vomitories on the inside wall, and other guest services on the outside wall.

Concession stands are distributed along the concourse and include exciting new food concepts. In addition to the traditional burgers, hot-dogs, and popcorn, the concessions at Ford Stadium will feature pizza, Mexican, and deli style fare. In addition, negotiations are beginning with local restaurant franchisers for branded stands. Restrooms will be spacious and numerous, exceeding both Uniform Building Code requirements and Texas"potty parity" regulations. Other amenities will include a security center, fist aid/medical treatment facility, novelty stands, a guest services booth, and ATM and telephone banks. Club and suite patrons and the media headed to the Press Box will have a separate entry and elevator lobby.

Ticketing operations will be housed in the All Sports Center, on the north side, at ground level. Seven windows will be distributed on the north side of the All Sports Center, and one window will be inside the facility. On game days, satellite ticket booths will be open in the corners of the Stadium. Parking spots will be available daily to the north of the All Sports Center to facilitate advance ticket sales. The scoreboard will be located in the south end of the bowl, above the sloped grass seating, providing the best line of sight for everyone in the Stadium.

The Club Level of the Press Box houses 540 patrons on five goal line-to-goal line tiers with 22" wide seats. Each seat is padded and upholstered for comfort, and includes a cupholder for convenience. A catered buffet is served prior to game time, with patrons dining in a lounge area overlooking the campus to the west or the playing field to the east.

The Executive Suite Level houses seventeen suites: sixteen for suite lease holders, and one suite held by the university to entertain alumni and guests. Each suite holds either 12 or 14 patrons in two tiers, and a drink rail and comfortable furnishings allow for socializing, dining, and serious football. Operable windows at the top of the glass bring in the noise of the crowd; or, in inclement weather, the game can be enjoyed in a comfortably sealed environment.

The Media Center Level houses booths for home and visiting coaches, radio and television broadcast rooms and a scoreboard/operations center. In addition, a three-tiered working press area offers 100 media professionals the opportunity to plug in and work. Game statistics, a press workroom, and a catered buffet will be available to all media professionals. The Media Center level also houses six suites, outfitted identically to those on the Executive Suite Level. The roof atop the Press Box provides ample space for video and still camera photographers, as well as housing a state-of-the-art sound system.

The All Sports Center, located on the northwest corner of Ford Stadium, is open daily for regular campus operations, and will be populated by students, student-athletes, coaches, faculty, and staff of the Athletic Department. The field level houses football lockers, training facilities, equipment areas, and team meeting rooms and auditoriums that double as press briefing rooms.

Level 1 (at grade) prominently houses the sports hall of fame Heritage Hall, off the entry, and the "Locker Room," a team novelty sales retail store. Level 1 also includes track and soccer lockers, the lockers for a new women?s sport, and a separate entrance lobby for the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center. Deliveries and loading occur on the north side of the building, with a freight elevator to access all levels. This creates an efficient loading process for the team when preparing for road games.

Level 2 houses offices for football, soccer, track, and the new women?s sport coaches. It is also home to the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center--an academic services department offering tutoring, workshops, a computer center, and study areas for the campus at large, not just student-athletes. It?s proximity to the underclass quad of dormitories makes it readily available until late evening.

Level 3 will house offices for the Department of Athletics, golf team offices and lockers, and, as a jewel in the crown, a "Mustang Club" overlooking the playing field. Mustang Club will be a pre-game experience with catered food and drinks, a place to mingle with old alumni friends or new business prospects. On non-game days, the University will use the Mustang Club as a venue for campus events, or rent it for outside receptions and gatherings.

SMU Mustangs

Ownby Stadium
Ownby Stadium

Cotton Bowl
Cotton Bowl

Texas Stadium
Texas Stadium

Death Penalty
Death Penalty
Ownby Stadium
Ownby Stadium

Cotton Bowl
Cotton Bowl

Gerald J Ford Stadium
Gerald J Ford Stadium

2001-Present © 1996-2017 by Munsey & Suppes.