The University of Oregon (UO) has said it will create the world’s leading track and field stadium for its hosting of the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) 2021 World Championships.
Scheduled to open in 2020, the University said the new-look Hayward Field in Eugene will set a new standard for sports venues, create world-class training and competition facilities for student-athletes, and incorporate new laboratories and research facilities to better understand the potential of human performance.
“When complete, Hayward Field will be nothing less than the finest track and field facility in the world, emblematic of the risk takers and innovators who have made Oregon great,” Michael H. Schill, University of Oregon president and professor of law, said. “The new design for Hayward Field is awe-inspiring, amazing, and completely in accord with the university’s relentless pursuit of excellence in everything that we do.”
The project is set to cost more than $200m (£140.7m/€160.8m) and will be funded entirely by private donations, led by UO alumnus Phil Knight, co-founder of US sportswear company Nike, and his wife Penny, as well as gifts from more than 50 donors.
The transformation is needed to bring the existing 8,500-seat stadium up to the standards required to host the 2021 World Championships. The Oregonian newspaper said the new stadium will have between 12,000 and 13,000 permanent seats, with a transparent roof above these seats. The north end of the stadium will be used as the location for the majority of the temporary seating needed to bring the capacity up to the minimum 30,000 required for the World Championships.
Work is expected to start in June, with the project featuring a nine-story building rising over the northeast corner of the track that is shaped like an Olympic torch. The building will be known as the Bowerman Tower in honour of former UO track coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman.
The UO track team will have a 140-metre indoor training track that includes a curve, while there will be dedicated space for pole vaulters and high jumpers. Distance runners will be able to train out of the rain on a running surface above the stands.
The new-look Hayward Field will also have expanded locker rooms, meeting rooms and treatment rooms. The area outside the north end of the stadium will be transformed into a parklike pedestrian zone.
Knight said: “As I’ve said many times, my business life was born on Hayward Field so this is a deeply personal project for me. My goal is to see an enduring monument to the ideals of perseverance, innovation and achievement that my coach, mentor and business partner Bill Bowerman instilled in all his athletes. We will honour Bill Hayward’s and Bill Bowerman’s legendary achievements by creating a magical venue that will remain the heart of the University of Oregon for generations to come.”
Image: University of Oregon