Harker unveils plans for renovated stadium, new East Campus housing
Proposal for Delaware Stadium includes luxury boxes, 8,200 new seats
Published: Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Updated: Friday, June 11, 2010 03:06
University officials have publicly released for the first time sketches showing the planned expansion of Delaware Stadium and have provided new details about several planned construction projects, including the former Chrysler Assembly Plant and new East Campus residence halls.
University President Patrick Harker unveiled the plans Saturday at a town hall-style meeting with alumni during the Forum & Reunion Weekend.
Delaware Stadium expansion
Delaware Stadium will undergo renovations and expansion to include more seats, luxury boxes and a new press box, according to conceptual drawings released Saturday. The project will add an estimated 8,200 seats to the stadium, which currently seats 22,000.
Athletic Director Bernard Muir announced the plans in a videotaped message shown to alumni at the town hall meeting.
The sketches show a 7,500-seat addition to the North End Zone, configured in a horseshoe shape and bordered by red brick.
A 50,000-square-foot, multi-story addition to the home-side stands will house 17 luxury suites, 700 club-level seats, a club lounge and new press facilities.
Other improvements to the 58-year-old stadium will include widening of aisles, installation of handrails and construction of new bathrooms and concession stands. In front of the stadium will be an expanded plaza area, intended to entice fans to spend time around the stadium before game time.
In addition, a 96,000-square-foot student performance center will be built under the North End Zone and will house a strength and conditioning center and sports medicine facility, to be used by all student athletes. The building will also contain football team locker rooms, team meeting areas and a university athletics hall of fame.
Also part of the university's South Campus plans is a 51,000-square-foot addition to the Bob Carpenter Center that will house two gymnasiums and additional team meeting areas. The addition is intended to give the varsity basketball and volleyball teams more space to practice and provide gym space to club sports.
The addition to the Carpenter Center is expected to begin later this year and could be finished as early as Fall 2011. The project will be funded by a $100-per-semester increase in the Comprehensive Student Fee, which was approved by the Board of Trustees last month.
Less clear, however, is the timetable and cost estimate for the other improvements to athletic facilities. Muir touched on neither during his presentation Saturday, but has indicated previously that the timetable will depend largely on when large financial donations can be secured.
"This is only a snapshot of what the future can hold for UD athletics," Muir said in the video. "With your financial assistance we can build a first-class athletic program, one that UD student athletes and fans deserve."
Former Chrysler plant
Harker announced on Saturday potential plans to bring a hotel, convenience store and restaurants to the site of the former Chrysler Assembly Plant, in addition to plans previously announced for the 272-acre property.
The university bought the property in October for $24 million and announced plans to develop it in three main ways: a technology park, a transportation hub and a clinical health campus.
The technology park will bring in the U.S. Army and outside companies to provide jobs on the site. Harker hopes to extend Maryland Area Regional Commuter rail service to Newark to provide easy access to campus from Baltimore and Washington.
"We want to build this with a more urban feel, that is more walkable so people can get off a train, walk to work or walk to a restaurant," Harker said.
Harker said he also hopes to add to the site a hotel, conference facilities, restaurants and the retail shops commonly found around other train stations, such as dry cleaners and a convenience store.
East Campus housing
A three-part project set to begin in 2011 will shift freshman housing from West Campus to East Campus, Harker said.
The project will include building a new residence hall on the former site of the Gilbert Complex, constructing a new dining hall on East Campus and renovating the Harrington Complex.
Once the new residence hall is built, the Rodney and Dickinson Complexes will be shut down, Harker said.
The new housing facility will include the amenities of the newer residence hall on Laird Campus, but with the social setting of Rodney and Dickinson. Surveys conducted by the university have shown that freshmen prefer the close-knit community of Rodney and Dickinson, rather than the suite-style arrangements on Laird Campus.
"They didn't like being by the railroad tracks, but they did like the style of housing," he said.
In addition to replacing outdated facilities, the switch is intended to shift the boundaries of campus, Harker said.
"We want to try to shift the campus over and not be so focused on the other side of Elkton Road," he said "We're trying to make Academy [Street] a major thoroughfare through the university and make the campus feel a little less narrow and more connected."
Harker provided no cost estimates for the project, which is expected to add 1,800 to 2,100 beds to East Campus.
Interdisciplinary science and engineering building
Utilities work in preparation of the new science and engineering building has already begun at the corner of Academy Street and Lovett Avenue, Harker said. Construction on the $140-million project will begin in January.