McBride Field is ready for a bleachers renovation. The field, dedicated in 1962, received a new playing surface in 2004 and an improved press box in 2005. Demolition began this week to make way for an upgraded seating plan.
“After careful review of our current structure by our insurance agency and a stadium safety expert, we were able to determine that the bleachers failed to meet a number of building codes,” said Justin Newell, assistant director of athletics and Kenyon Athletic Center director. “It’s obvious the concrete structure itself is even starting to deteriorate and break apart.” The improvements will bring the stadium into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Steven Arnett, director of campus planning and construction, said the project will “right some wrongs in terms of accessibility and safety,” but the “icing on the cake” of the renovation will be an enhanced atmosphere. “A new, clean bleacher system is going to do a lot to improve the experience of an athletic event down on the field,” Arnett said.
Renovations are expected to be complete before lacrosse season begins on Feb. 15, 2014.
Four pine trees that backed the stands have been transplanted to the southeast corner of the North Campus Apartments complex. After the old stands are removed, Southern Bleacher Company of Graham, Texas, will begin construction of the new bleachers, which will expand seating capacity to 1,762, from 1,650, at a cost of about $550,000. The stands will be two-tiered with the lower tier providing space for 1,236 spectators. The middle section of the seven-section lower tier will feature 176 chair backs and 14 wheelchair spaces. The upper tier is split into four sections, two flanking each side of the press box, which will remain untouched, and will accommodate 526 spectators.
The new seating, constructed mainly of concrete and aluminum, will also add about 30 feet in width, stretching from one five-yard line of the football field to the other five-yard line.
Second only to the Kenyon Athletic Center in terms of student use, McBride Field is home to the Kenyon football, field hockey, men’s lacrosse, and men’s and women’s track and field teams. Many club teams also use the field, as do intramural sports.
“The renovation will help provide a top-notch game-day experience for our fans and a venue our student-athletes can be proud of,” Lords lacrosse coach Doug Misarti said. “This feeling of pride is great for our current students, our fans, and our recruiting efforts. Ultimately, this renovation reflects a commitment to excellence and helps the program succeed in many ways.”
“This new facility will transform the fan experience into a true, small-college stadium,” Newell added. “Improved seating, sight lines and approach will allow for a better atmosphere that will not only engage the fan, but also create a more imposing visual from the field for our athletes to embrace.”