Work on transforming the University of Oregon’s (UO’s) Hayward Field into an elite track and field stadium has been completed, making it ready to act as the centrepiece of the postponed World Athletics Championships.
The University has retaken possession of the stadium (pictured in April), which has undergone more than $200m (£161.1m/€178.4m) worth of work 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.
With the UO campus currently closed to the general public because of COVID-19, Paul Weinhold, president and CEO of the University of Oregon Foundation, told The Oregonian newspaper that any public unveiling isn’t expected until the autumn.
In April, World Athletics announced that its World Championships in Eugene, Oregon will now take place from July 15-24, 2022, a year later than originally scheduled. The postponement was confirmed after the International Olympic Committee announced that this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo would be pushed back until 2021 due to the pandemic. Eugene’s Championships had originally been scheduled for August 6-15, 2021.
Work began on the redevelopment in June 2018 and UO hopes the new-look Hayward Field will set a new standard for sports stadia, creating world-class training and competition facilities for student-athletes.
The stadium, which had seated 8,500 fans, has been expanded to hold 12,650 permanent 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.
Hayward Field originally opened as an American football stadium in 1919, but has been used as a track and field venue since 1921.
Image: University of Oregon