Jerry Richardson Stadium

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McColl–Richardson Field at Jerry Richardson Stadium
A photograph of a stadium in early stages of construction
Jerry Richardson Stadium
Location Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.
Coordinates 35°18′38″N 80°44′25″W / 35.31056°N 80.74028°W / 35.31056; -80.74028Coordinates: 35°18′38″N 80°44′25″W / 35.31056°N 80.74028°W / 35.31056; -80.74028
Broke ground April 28, 2011 (2011-04-28)[1]
Built 2011–2012
Opened August 31, 2013 (2013-08-31)
Owner University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Surface Matrix artificial turf[2]
Scoreboard 70 ft × 30 ft (21.3 m × 9.1 m)
Construction cost $45 million
Architect DLR Group
Jenkins·Peer Architects
General contractor Rodgers PCL Russell
Capacity 15,314
Record attendance 16,630[Note 1]
Field size 360 by 160 feet (110 m × 49 m)
Acreage 25 acres (10 ha)[3]
Website www.charlotte49ers.com
Tenants
Charlotte 49ers football (2013– )

McColl–Richardson Field at Jerry Richardson Stadium is a college football stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States and the home field of the Charlotte 49ers football team representing the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte). The team is currently an independent in the Football Championship Subdivision, but is expected to become a Football Bowl Subdivision member in Conference USA in 2015.

Proposed by the university's chancellor in 2008, the stadium was approved by the school's Board of Trustees, the Board of Governors for the University of North Carolina, and Governor Bev Perdue before officially beginning construction in April 2011. Businessmen Hugh McColl and Jerry Richardson purchased the naming rights to the facility's playing field in 2011, and construction finished in October 2012. The stadium was named for Richardson in 2013 after an additional $10 million donation. The stadium hosted its first major event on August 31, 2013, when the 49ers defeated the Campbell Fighting Camels.

Designed by Jenkins·Peer Architects and the DLR Group, the horseshoe-shaped stadium has a capacity of 15,314 people. Much of the current home side seating area is available with the purchase of a personal seat license. The venue includes various amenities, such as the Judy W. Rose football center, which includes athletic and academic facilities. Located on the UNC Charlotte campus, parking is expected to be limited on game days, although public transportation routes to reach the stadium are currently under construction.

History[edit]

Funding[edit]

In February 2008, a university-appointed committee presented a report to UNC Charlotte Chancellor Phil Dubois recommending the addition of a football program at the school, which would cost approximately $11.5 million per year and would be funded primarily through an annually increasing student athletic fee.[4] In June 2008, Dubois presented a report to the school's Board of Trustees addressing the potential impact of the addition of a football stadium on the university. In the report, Dubois suggested two possible locations for a new stadium: a renovated Irwin Belk Track and Field Center/Transamerica Field or a new facility at the site of recreational fields on the northwestern part of the campus. Dubois preferred the latter for cost reasons.[5] In November 2008, the board unanimously approved Dubois' proposal to add a football program.[6]

On December 11, 2009, the Board of Trustees approved a financing plan for football, which called for the university to borrow $40.5 million in state-issued bonds to construct a permanent football stadium and field house, citing a favorable bidding environment and greater interest in ticket sales as their reasons for building a new facility rather than expanding American Legion Memorial Stadium.[7] On February 12, 2010, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors approved a student fee increase to fund the construction of the facility.[8] Students pay an annual fee of $120 to fund the stadium's construction debt. A separate fee, which will begin at $50 and increase annually until it reaches $200, will pay for regular operating costs.[9] On August 2, 2010, North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue signed the debt service fee bill into law to clear the way for stadium construction.[10] The final design of the new stadium was displayed at the Board of Trustees meeting on September 24, 2010.[9]

Construction and naming rights[edit]

Rodgers PCL Russell, a joint venture of Rodgers Builders, PCL Construction, and H. J. Russell & Company, was the primary builder for the stadium and football center.[11] On April 28, 2011, UNC Charlotte held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new football stadium.[11][12] Construction finished in the fall of 2012, and ownership was turned over to university control on October 31, 2012. That month, the university announced its intent to make the stadium a zero waste facility.[13]

On November 1, 2011, the stadium's playing field was named McColl–Richardson Field after Hugh McColl, former chief executive officer of Bank of America, and Jerry Richardson, owner of the National Football League's Carolina Panthers, purchased the naming rights for an undisclosed amount.[14] Although athletic director Judy Rose stated that the school was asking for $5 million over 13 years for the naming rights to the stadium,[15] the school announced on June 11, 2013, that Richardson had donated an additional $10 million to the school's football program, and the facility would be named Jerry Richardson Stadium.[16] The donation attracted some controversy, due to the fact that Richardson had recently lobbied the City of Charlotte for $87.5 million in public funds to renovate Bank of America Stadium.[17][18]

Opening[edit]

Four days after the venue passed inspection, the team hosted an informal scrimmage in front of approximately 1,500 spectators on November 3, 2012.[19][20] Two weeks later, 2,500 attendees watched the team's final scrimmage before its first season in 2013.[21] The inaugural Green and White Spring Game was held on April 20, 2013; the announced attendance at the game was 13,950.[22] The stadium hosted its first major event when the 2013 Charlotte 49ers football team defeated the Campbell Fighting Camels 52–7 on August 31, 2013. The announced official attendance for the game was 16,630, setting an initial record for the venue.[23][24] The first intercollegiate points scored at the facility came when linebacker Mark Hogan (who had previously been one of the first members of the Georgia State Panthers football program) returned an interception for a touchdown on the second play from scrimmage.[25] The team's third home game, a 13–40 loss to the North Carolina Central Eagles, also had an announced attendance of 16,630.[26]

Structure and facilities[edit]

A wide photograph of an empty stadium. Stands are on the left, a brick building behind an American football playing surface is near the center, and home side stands with a press box are on the right.
View from behind the north end zone, with visitor stands on the left, the Judy W. Rose Football Center center, and home side stands with a press box on the right
A brick structure at the end of an American football field.
Judy W. Rose Football Center

Designed by Jenkins·Peer Architects and the DLR Group, the 25-acre (10 ha) facility is covered with UNC Charlotte's unique brick style, called "Morrocroft Special", from Hanson Brick.[27] To better align with the rest of the Charlotte Research Institute Campus, which was laid out to match Tryon Street, the stadium is slightly off of the traditional north–south alignment of most American football stadiums.[27] The 46,150-square-foot (4,287 m2) Judy W. Rose Football Center, named for the school's long-time athletic director, is located on the southeastern end of the facility. The center includes various academic and athletic amenities.[28][29] The facility also includes 145,000 square feet (13,500 m2) of practice fields with a Bermuda sod grass turf, which are connected by a 70-foot (21 m) pedestrian bridge.[3]

The stadium is an under grade level horseshoe-shaped structure around a 97,712-square-foot (9,077.7 m2) playing surface,[3] which is covered with Matrix artificial turf.[2] The facility does not include floodlights, necessitating earlier kickoff times to avoid playing games at night.[30] The stands currently have a capacity of 15,314, including 13,586 bleacher seats,[3] but expansion became more likely on May 4, 2012, when the school accepted an invitation to rejoin Conference USA, a Football Bowl Subdivision conference. Among the possible changes to the stadium's structure would be the addition of 24 luxury boxes and additional seats to raise the stadium's capacity to 40,000.[15][31] A 6,636-square-foot (616.5 m2) press box, named for donors Steve and Vicki Luquire,[32] sits above the home side stands.[33] A 70-by-30-foot (21.3 m × 9.1 m) scoreboard, which includes a 42-by-28.3-foot (12.8 m × 8.6 m) video screen, is located behind the south end zone.[34] A separate field-level video board is 37.8 by 3.1 feet (11.52 m × 0.94 m) tall.[35]

Home side seating is available with the purchase of a personal seat license fee for premium seating at games, which finances part of the stadium's construction.[36] Fans can purchase up to four of approximately 5,500 licenses for seats between the 30-yard line and each end zone with a minimum $250 annual donation to the athletic department or between the 30-yard lines on either side of midfield for $1,500 each year, plus the cost of season tickets. Approximately 200 premium "White Gold Tier" seats, intended primarily for purchase by corporations, are also available for an undisclosed amount.[36][37] As of January 2013, 600 seat licenses remained unsold.[38]

Transportation and location[edit]

Jerry Richardson Stadium is located near the campus entrance at Highway 29 (Tryon Street) north of Hayes Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States.[9] The school has announced various measures to control traffic on game days, including the closure of all entrances to the campus five hours prior to kickoff. Parking in designated lots around the campus on game days will be restricted to vehicles with an appropriate permit.[39] The LYNX Blue Line Extension is expected to provide light rail service to the area by 2017.[40]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Three times: Against the Campbell Fighting Camels on August 31, 2013, the NC Central Eagles on September 14, 2013, and the UNC Pembroke Braves on October 12, 2013.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brown, Phillip (August 7, 2013). "Managing Game Day Experience Presents New Opportunity". Inside UNC Charlotte (Press release). University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Retrieved August 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Hellas Sports Construction Chosen to Be Part of Charlotte 49ers Football History" (Press release). Hellas Sports Construction. Archived from the original on November 26, 2012. Retrieved July 4, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Venue Information". University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 2013. Retrieved June 11, 2013. 
  4. ^ Everett, Mac; Atkinson, Johnson; Beaver, Jeff; Grainger, Ike; Hensley, Bill; Leak, Jeff; Morgan, Bob; Price, Joe et al. (February 15, 2008) (PDF). UNC – Charlotte Football Study (Report). David Broome – legal counsel, Judy Rose – athletic director, Darin Spaese – senior associate athletic director. The Lee Institute. pp. 6–8. http://explorefootball.kennesaw.edu/docs/unc_charlotte_football_study.pdf. Retrieved July 9, 2012. Lay summary – Elizabeth Bartholf (February 5, 2012).
  5. ^ St. Onge, Peter (June 3, 2008). "UNCC Chancellor's Football Report Sobering". The Charlotte Observer. Archived from the original on September 19, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  6. ^ Spanberg, Erik (November 8, 2008). "UNCC Kicks Off Move to Launch Football". Charlotte Business Journal (American City Business Journals). Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  7. ^ "UNC Charlotte Trustees Approve Financing Plan for Football" (Press release). UNC Charlotte Office of Public Relations. December 11, 2009. Archived from the original on March 21, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  8. ^ "UNC Board of Governors Approve Football Funding" (Press release). UNC Charlotte Office of Public Relations. February 12, 2010. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c Spanberg, Erik (September 24, 2010). "Sales Slow as UNC Charlotte Unveils Stadium Plans". Charlotte Business Journal. Archived from the original on 2010-09-30. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  10. ^ Scott, David (August 3, 2010). "49ers Football Gets Governor's Boost". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved July 4, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Football Breaks Ground on Stadium" (Press release). Charlotte Sports Information. April 28, 2011. Archived from the original on March 25, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  12. ^ Spanberg, Erik (April 28, 2011). "UNC Charlotte Kicks Off Football". Charlotte Business Journal. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  13. ^ Falls, Barry (October 4, 2012). "Plans Underway to Make McColl–Richardson Field a Zero-Waste Stadium". NinerOnline.com. Retrieved December 18, 2012. 
  14. ^ Spanberg, Erik (November 1, 2011). "UNC Charlotte to Name Football Field for Hugh McColl, Jerry Richardson". Charlotte Business Journal. Archived from the original on November 5, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b Muret, Don (November 19, 2012). "Changes Already Planned for Soon-to-open College Stadium". Sports Business Journal (Street & Smith): 15. Archived from the original on February 18, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2013. 
  16. ^ Dyches, Chris (June 11, 2013). "Charlotte 49ers Name Stadium After Panthers Owner". Retrieved June 11, 2013. 
  17. ^ Florio, Mike (June 12, 2013). "Richardson Creates Stir with $10 Million Donation". NBCSports.com. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  18. ^ Sorenson, Tom (June 11, 2013). "Jerry Richardson Gave from His Heart, No Matter What You Think". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  19. ^ Scott, David (October 31, 2012). "Stadium Passes Inspections; Scrimmage Set for Saturday". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  20. ^ Hunte, Sydney (November 3, 2012). "Some Quick Thoughts From Charlotte 49ers Football’s First Scrimmage". PickAxeDigest.com. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Niners Score 5 TD's in Fall Finale" (Press release). University of North Carolina Charlotte. November 17, 2012. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  22. ^ "49ers Host Inaugural Spring Game". The Gaston Gazette. April 20, 2013. Archived from the original on May 5, 2013. Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Campbell Fighting Camels vs. Charlotte 49ers – Box Score – August 31, 2013". ESPN.com. August 31, 2013. Retrieved September 1, 2013. 
  24. ^ Chapman, Matt (August 31, 2013). "49ers Football Team Stakes Their Claim". NinersOnline.com. Retrieved September 1, 2013. 
  25. ^ Reed, Steve (August 31, 2013). "Charlotte Beats Campbell 52–7 in Inaugural Game". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 2, 2013. 
  26. ^ Scott, David (September 14, 2013). "Charlotte 49ers Get First Football Loss — A 40–13 Rout by N.C. Central". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  27. ^ a b Perlmutt, David (September 8, 2012). "'It's Game Day, Baby' for UNCC's New Football Stadium". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved December 9, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Halton Makes Gift To Name Football Field House" (Press release). UNC Charlotte Athletics. May 16, 2012. Retrieved July 4, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Rose Football Center Officially Named" (Press release). UNC Charlotte Athletics. August 15, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  30. ^ Tarver, Curtis (September 6, 2013). "Guest Post: 80mins Visited Jerry Richardson Stadium". collegiatestadiums.com. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  31. ^ Scott, David. "Charlotte 49ers Football in a Hurry-up Before Games Even Start". The Charlotte Observer. Stadium. Archived from the original on July 4, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  32. ^ "UNC Charlotte Dedicates Press Box to Steve and Vicki Luquire". gaadv.com (Press release). Luquire George Andrews. September 6, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Welcome to the 49ers Football Stadium" (Press release). Charlotte Sports Information. May 10, 2012. Archived from the original on March 10, 2013. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  34. ^ Wimberley, Nate (April 3, 2013). "49ers Install Scoreboard". wbtv.com. Archived from the original on 2013-04-04. Retrieved April 4, 2013. 
  35. ^ Unger, Dan (November 1, 2013). "Panasonic Installs New LED Boards for University of North Carolina at Charlotte". Panasonic.com (Press release). Panasonic. Retrieved November 3, 2013. 
  36. ^ a b Olsen, Stan (January 29, 2009). "UNC Charlotte Announces Plan for Seat Licenses". The Charlotte Observer. Archived from the original on September 19, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  37. ^ Charlotte 49ers Athletic Foundation. Charlotte 49ers Kick-off – Seat License (PDF). Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  38. ^ "Excitement Grows for UNCC Football as Tickets Continue to Sell". WCNC.com. 2013-01-26. Archived from the original on 2013-01-30. Retrieved 2013-05-25. 
  39. ^ "UNC Charlotte Football Parking". Parking and Transportation Services. University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 2013. Retrieved August 22, 2013. 
  40. ^ Horner, Paul (August 15, 2013). "Why Not Green Line? How Light Rail Will Affect UNC Charlotte And Charlotte 49ers Fans". PickAxeDigest.com. Retrieved August 22, 2013. 

External links[edit]