UO Board of Trustees to consider Hayward Field renovation project

Just in time to celebrate 100 years and its place as the epicenter of track and field in the United States, Hayward Field could soon receive a well-deserved renovation.

On Thursday, Sept. 10, the Facilities and Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon will discuss the first steps toward updating the historic stadium. The Hayward Field project would begin in July 2016 following the Olympic Trials.

Major enhancements would be made to spectator and training facilities. Spectator access would be increased with flexibility to seat up to 30,000, and training and academic facilities would be upgraded.

Plans call for a new home for the Bowerman Sports Science Clinic, which triples the amount of research space in the facility.

“From the moment I set foot on campus, I could sense the significance of Hayward Field to our university and the community,” President Michael H. Schill said. “It is a place that embodies the spirit of the University of Oregon. Its storied history is intimately tied to the history of this great institution. This project will be a tribute to all who have enjoyed its grandeur as spectators or competitors, and to all who visit in the years to come.

“I am also extremely excited that this project will strengthen both the university’s athletic and academic programs. This partnership between athletics and academics will be a model for our future success,” Schill said.

Initially constructed for football in 1919, Hayward Field has solidified its place as America’s home for track and field. Next year, Hayward Field will host its sixth Olympic Trials in track and field and its 14th NCAA Outdoor Championships, a tradition that will continue through 2021. It is also under consideration to host its seventh Olympic Trials in 2020.

"Hayward Field is unparalleled in importance to the sport of track and field and the entire state of Oregon,” said Vin Lananna, the university’s associate athletic director for Olympic development. “Recognized everywhere for inspiring world-class performances, this special stadium is also the dream destination for boys and girls just beginning in the sport, high school and collegiate athletes at the pinnacle of their career and the casual runner motivated to improve fitness. With (Nike designer) Tinker Hatfield’s magnificent design vision, Hayward Field is sure to set a new standard as the home for athletes from across the world."

Funded by private donations, the project would have no impact on the university’s operating budget. The University of Oregon Foundation, the nonprofit organization responsible for receiving, investing and distributing private gifts given to benefit of the university, would manage the project and associated costs.

The foundation has created a single-member, limited liability corporation, Hayward Field Enhancement LLC, to facilitate the renovation. The board committee will consider a resolution to authorize the university president to enter into a lease with the corporation for the duration of the renovation.

 “The UO Foundation would be proud to manage the renovation of this iconic university asset,” president and CEO Paul Weinhold said. “The renovation would bring Hayward Field to its full potential for the long-term benefit of the University of Oregon and community.”

Hayward Field Enhancement LLC is currently working with SRG Partnership Inc. and Hoffman Construction. Once initial planning is complete, contracts would be open for bid and prevailing wages would apply.

Preliminary plans and designs would be completed before the end of this year and the cost of the project is yet to be determined. The renovation would be substantially complete prior to the 2017 NCAA Track and Field Championships.

By Victoria Nguyen, UO Foundation