|Closing up the end zone, removing the track, adding a new press box and luxury suites are all in the works for Wallace Wade Stadium's announced renovation. (US Presswire)|
For the first time since opening in 1929, Wallace Wade Stadium is getting a major face-lift.
Over the weekend Duke University announced the launch of a $250 million athletics initiative,with $100 million earmarked for several athletic facilities, including plans to expand the seating and improve the facilities in and around the storied stadium. Work could begin after the 2013 football season and according to the university's release, "the timetable for the various projects is dependent on the success of the fund-raising campaign."
Wallace Wade Stadium (named Duke Stadium until 1967) has been the home of Duke football since 1929, but is arguably most notable as the home of the relocated 1942 Rose Bowl due to World War II. Once the renovations are complete, the stadium promises to be much more than a historic footnote on campus next to Cameron Indoor Stadium.
In fact, a big part of the plan is constructing a grand entrance to both Cameron and Wallace Wade. The track surrounding the field will be removed, and the horseshoe end zone will be closed, adding nearly 10,000 seats to current capacity. Throw in a new press box, luxury suites, and you've got yourself a brand new stadium essentially.
From the university release:
Moving the track opens the door for the first stage of Wallace Wade's transformation. The track that circles the field will be removed and the field will be lowered. The stands will be extended closer to the field.
At the same time, the press box will be demolished (with Duke Sports Medicine, which shares the facility, moving to a new location) and replaced with a new tower that will include premium club seating, loges and suites.
Also on tap is a new pedestrian plaza connecting Wade, Cameron and the Yoh Center. It will serve as a grand entrance to both the football and basketball stadiums. As part of the project, Duke will construct – adjacent to the Murray Building – a three-level pavilion that will feature new ticket offices and a team store for the public, offices for the athletic department, new training rooms, and a weight room for Olympic sport student-athletes.
The final phase of the Wade project will be closing in the open end of the horseshoe to turn the stadium into a bowl. The new seating capacity is projected to be 43,915.
Hard to imagine that the football team gets the exact same benefits from the multisport enhancement without David Cutcliffe as the head coach. Aside from the 4-1 start this season, Cutcliffe's impact on the program began the moment he arrived in Durham.
In his first four seasons (2008-11), Cutcliffe had topped the program's win total from 1999-2007. Now the Blue Devils are two wins away from their first postseason appearance since 1994. The schedule is backloaded and the feat will require at least one upset, but the 4-1 record is the school's best start since that 1994 season.
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