Husky Stadium

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Husky Stadium
"The Greatest Setting in College Football"
Husky stadium from Lake Washington.JPG
Looking west from Union Bay in 2015
Location University of Washington
3800 Montlake Blvd NE
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Coordinates 47°39′00″N 122°18′07″W / 47.65°N 122.302°W / 47.65; -122.302Coordinates: 47°39′00″N 122°18′07″W / 47.65°N 122.302°W / 47.65; -122.302
Public transit Link light rail University of Washington station
Owner University of Washington
Operator University of Washington
Capacity 70,083 (2014–present)[1]
70,138 (2013)
72,500 (1987–2011)
58,000 (1968–1986)
55,000 (1950–1967)
40,000 (1936–1949)
30,000 (1920–1935)
Surface FieldTurf (2000–present)
AstroTurf (1968–1999)
Natural grass (1938–1967)
Dirt (1920–1937)
Construction
Broke ground May 17, 1920[2]
Opened November 27, 1920
August 31, 2013
Renovated 1950, 1987, 2013
Expanded 1936, 1950, 1968, 1987
Construction cost $600,000
($7.17 million in 2016[3])
$280 million[4] (2013 renovation)
Architect Bebb and Gould[5]
360 Architecture (2012 renovation)
General contractor Puget Sound Bridge and Dredging Company[2]
Tenants
Washington Huskies (NCAA) (1920–present)
Seattle Seahawks (NFL) (2000–2001)
Seattle is located in the US
Seattle
Seattle
Location in the United States

Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium (colloquially known as simply Husky Stadium) is an outdoor football stadium in the northwest United States, located on the campus of the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington.

It has been the home of the Washington Huskies of the Pac-12 Conference since 1920, hosting its football games. The university also holds its annual commencement at the stadium in June. It is located at the southeastern corner of campus, between Montlake Boulevard N.E. and Union Bay, just north of the Montlake Cut. The stadium is served by the University of Washington Link light rail station, as well as several bus routes.

The stadium underwent a $280 million renovation that was completed in 2013.[4] Its U-shaped design was specifically oriented (18.167° south of due east) to minimize glare from the early afternoon sun in the athletes' eyes.[6] The open end overlooks scenic Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains, including Mount Rainier. Prior to the 2013 renovation, its total capacity of 72,500 made it the largest stadium in the Pacific Northwest and the 23rd largest in college football.

History[edit]

The original stadium was built 97 years ago in 1920[7] by Puget Sound Bridge and Dredging Company with a seating capacity of 30,000. It replaced Denny Field, located at the north end of campus, south of NE 45th St. and 20th Ave NE. Husky Stadium's first game was the concluding game of the 1920 season, a 28–7 loss to Dartmouth on November 27.

In the summer of 1923, the stadium was the site of President Warren Harding's final public address on July 27,[8] less than a week before his unexpected death in San Francisco.

The capacity of the lower bowl was expanded with the addition of 10,000 seats around the rim in 1936, and a few thousand more in 1968. The first of the stadium's iconic covered grandstands was constructed in 1950, adding 15,000 seats to the south side.[9]

An aerial view of Husky Stadium as seen the day before the start of the 2011 renovation project.
"Go Huskies" and the "W" logo were painted on the
north and south decks in September 2008.[10]

In 1987, 13,000 seats were added with the construction of the north grandstand.[11] Similar to the south stand, this structure included a cantilevered steel roof covering a portion of the lower seats. The project made headlines on February 25, 1987, when the grandstand collapsed during construction as a result of miscommunication between the workers and the contractor, which lead to the premature removal during the intended replacement of several support cables.[12] Although there were no casualties, property damage ranged from $500,000 to $1,000,000 and resulted in setbacks.[13][14]

Husky Stadium was a primary venue for the 1990 Goodwill Games, where the crowd saw an address by former President Ronald Reagan, as well as an address by Arnold Schwarzenegger, and a performance by the Moody Blues & Gorky Park. The stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the track & field competition.

Husky Stadium was the temporary home of the Seattle Seahawks for five games (two preseason and three regular season) in 1994 while the Kingdome was temporarily closed for repairs to its damaged roof. After the demolition of the Kingdome in March 2000, the Seahawks played at Husky Stadium for the 2000 and 2001 seasons before moving into Seahawks Stadium (now CenturyLink Field) in 2002.

The playing field at Husky Stadium was originally dirt, which was then replaced with natural grass in 1938.[15] In 1968, Washington became one of the first major college teams to play on AstroTurf at home; at the time, the Houston Astrodome and Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee were the only major facilities to use the surface. The AstroTurf field was replaced in 1972, 1977, 1987, and 1995.[16] FieldTurf, a new variation of synthetic turf, was installed in 2000 at a cost of $1,074,958. The new turf features enhanced drainage and reduced abrasion through the use of synthetic fibers that are tufted into an infill of sand and rubber. The project was funded by Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen, who used Husky Stadium as a temporary home venue during the construction of CenturyLink Field. The first of its kind in the NFL, the surface was so popular with the players that the Seahawks, who had planned to use natural grass at their new stadium, instead installed their own FieldTurf surface.[17] The FieldTurf at Husky Stadium was replaced with a newer one after nine seasons in 2009 at a cost of $350,000.[18]

Husky Stadium under construction in 1920 in front of Union Bay

In addition to the new playing surface, the Seahawks made other improvements to Husky stadium in preparation for its tenure as an NFL venue for two seasons. A larger scoreboard debuted in 1998, with a 23-by-42-foot (7.0 m × 12.8 m) "HuskyTron" video screen. Improved lighting for television, including corner lights, was added in 1999, and official NFL goalposts (optic yellow, 40 ft (12.2 m) in height) were installed in 2000.

The Husky Stadium end zones were painted gold during the 1980s and early 1990s; the new AstroTurf in 1995 changed them to purple. They became natural green with the installation of FieldTurf in 2000, which lasted until 2009 when they reverted to gold for one season. Purple end zones returned prior the 2010 season, and were temporarily painted black for the Huskies' first "blackout" game against UCLA on November 18.

On September 3, 2015, Alaska Airlines purchased naming rights to the field, which changed the official name to "Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium." The agreement, in which the university will receive $41 million over 10 years, became the largest of its kind in college athletics.[19]

The Wave[edit]

Pre-renovation in 2009, looking south;
Downtown and Space Needle at top right

Many claim that the first audience wave originated in Husky Stadium on Halloween 1981, at the prompting of Husky band trumpeter Dave Hunter.[20][21] Contrary to Hunter's account, former Washington yell leader Robb Weller has also claimed credit for the first wave.[22][23] Weller was the guest yell-king during the Huskies' homecoming football game against Stanford. His initial concept for the wave was for it to travel vertically, from the bottom of the stands to the top, within the Husky student section.[20][24] When the stunt was met with limited interest, he then decided to reverse the movement of the wave to travel from top to bottom. This failed miserably, as it was necessary to turn backward to see the wave progressing downward. Weller then gave up and returned his attention to the game. However, a fan named Omar Parker sitting on the open (east) end of the stadium at the student side started yelling "sideways". Weller did not hear him, but then many students tried to initiate a "sideways" wave on their own. After a few attempts, and more yelling of "sideways" by students, Weller took notice. He instructed the crowd to stand as he ran past. He moved along the track toward the open end of the stadium, explaining to the student crowd what he would do, then ran along the track toward the closed end of the stadium, in front of the student section. The stunt caught on after a couple of tries and continued around the entire stadium, and was then repeated throughout the rest of the game and the season. Longtime UW band director Bill Bissell also claimed co-creator credit with Weller, suggesting that the wave was devised by both of them prior to the game. The following week Bill Scott (known as "Bill the Beer Man") started the wave in Husky Stadium and also at the Seattle Seahawks game in the Kingdome.

Crowd noise[edit]

Capacity crowd in the south stands
at the 100th Apple Cup in 2007

Husky Stadium has long been recognized as one of the loudest stadiums in the nation.[25] This is in part due to the stadium's design; almost 70% of the seats are located between the end zones, covered by cantilevered metal roofs that trap the sound.[26]

At times, the high decibel levels typical of Husky games, in addition to fans stomping their feet in the bleachers, causes television cameras to shake. During the 1992 night game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, ESPN measured the noise level at over 130 decibels, well above the threshold of pain. The maximum recorded level of 133.6 decibels, according to ESPN, is the highest ever recorded for a college football stadium.[27]

Tailgating[edit]

Husky Stadium is unusual in that fans can travel to football games by boat, known locally as "sailgating" (other stadiums with this feature include Neyland Stadium at Tennessee, Heinz Field at Pittsburgh, and McLane Stadium at Baylor). There can be upwards of 12,000 people out on Lake Washington next to Husky Stadium during game days.[28] Before kickoff, the Washington crew team offers shuttles to anyone that wants to go to and from the boats and docks for the game.[29]

The north and south parking lots are packed with cars for tailgating. There is currently controversy surrounding the south parking lot because the Pacific Interchange Option for expansion to the SR 520 Floating Bridge would effectively eliminate the south parking lot for tailgating.

Fans also gather at the Dempsey Indoor Facility just north of the stadium for Husky Huddles. After the game, the Tyee Sports Council and the University of Washington Athletic Department put on events where fans can gather and hear analysis of the game from Washington coaches and Husky Legends, and listen to the Husky Marching Band.

2011–2013 renovation[edit]

Renovation in April 2012

Husky Stadium had developed numerous structural problems over the years as a result of standing for nine decades in Seattle's moist weather, particularly in the lower bowl. In November 2011, Husky Stadium began a $261 million renovation,[30] the largest single capital project in the history of the University of Washington.[31] Home games were played at CenturyLink Field during the 2012 season while construction took place.[30] The Apple Cup in 2011 was moved to CenturyLink to advance the start of the project by several weeks.

The new Husky Stadium was developed by Wright Runstad & Company, designed by 360 Architecture, and constructed by Turner Construction company. The steel decking was supplied by Profile Steel. The new stadium is the first and primary income source of a completely remodeled athletic district which includes a new $19 million Husky Ballpark, a new track and field stadium, renovated soccer stadium, $50 million basketball operations and practice facility and recently completed projects such as the Husky Legends Center, the Conibear Shellhouse and Alaska Airlines Arena renovations, and the construction of the Dempsey Indoor facility. This major remodel of the athletic village coincided with construction for an underground station for a northern extension of the Link Light Rail system and a replacement of the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge.

The renovation project incorporated a new grand concourse, press box, video and audio system, and football offices, as well as new and improved amenities, concession stands, and bathrooms. The track that had enclosed the playing field was removed, and the field itself lowered by four feet to make room for additional seating closer to the sidelines. The student section was relocated from the north sideline to the west end zone, and the temporary bleachers in the east end zone were replaced with a permanent structure featuring field-level suites. The addition of box suites reduced the seating capacity from 72,500 to 70,138.[32] Despite the reduction in capacity, the renovated stadium is expected to be as loud as its predecessor.[33] Additionally, new parking garages were constructed and facilities throughout the athletic village were renovated.[34]

Seattle Seahawks[edit]

The NFL's Seattle Seahawks first played home games at Husky Stadium in 1994, while unplanned repairs were made to the interior ceiling of the Kingdome. A total of five Seahawk games were at Husky Stadium; two pre-season and three regular season. The Kingdome reopened for the final five home games, starting on November 6.

The Seahawks later played the 2000 and 2001 seasons at Husky Stadium while their new home, Seahawks Stadium (now CenturyLink Field), was constructed on the footprint of the demolished Kingdome.

NFL exhibition games[edit]

Between 1955 and 1975, Husky Stadium hosted 12 NFL preseason games. The San Francisco 49ers played six times at the stadium, the most of any team. Other teams to make multiple appearances include the New York Giants, Los Angeles Rams, Cleveland Browns, and Chicago/St. Louis Cardinals.[35]

At one point after the 1970 NFL season, Ralph Wilson came close to moving the Buffalo Bills from dilapidated War Memorial Stadium to Husky Stadium.[36] The threat of relocation prompted the developers in the Buffalo suburbs to construct Rich Stadium (later Ralph Wilson Stadium and now New Era Field), where the Bills have resided ever since.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sean Constantine out for 2016 season with broken ankle, plus a season-ticket update". Tacoma News Tribune. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Build Large Earth-Fill Stadium by Sheerboard Method". Engineering News-Record. New York City: McGraw-Hill. 86 (8): 326–327. February 24, 1921. Retrieved September 19, 2013. 
  3. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Jude, Adam (August 24, 2013). "New, Improved Husky Stadium Ready to Shine". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 1, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Husky Stadium Historic and Cultural Resources Report" (PDF). The Johnson Partnership. November 1, 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  6. ^ University of Washington – Official Athletic Site: Facilities
  7. ^ Condotta, Bob (August 10, 2011). "Will tickets to new Husky Stadium cost a lot more?". The Seattle Times. 
  8. ^ Martin, Lawrence (July 28, 1923). "President is set against exploitation". Eugene Daily Guard. (Oregon). United Press. p. 1. 
  9. ^ "Seattle History: The first time Husky Stadium came down". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. December 22, 2011. Retrieved November 12, 2012. 
  10. ^ Washington-BYU Postgame Notes Archived 2012-02-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ "UW Regents Approve Plans for Husky Stadium Addition". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. April 20, 1985. p. 2C. 
  12. ^ Manno, Dominic. "University of Washington Football Stadium Addition Collapse (1987)". failures.wikispaces.com. Retrieved March 24, 2017. 
  13. ^ HistoryLink Essay: Husky Stadium collapses on February 25, 1987
  14. ^ "Section of Husky Stadium Collapses". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane. February 26, 1987. p. A-1. 
  15. ^ "Husky Stadium Aging Not So Gracefully". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. [dead link]
  16. ^ Linde, Richard. "From rocks to turf: "'Did you ever see a field grow rocks?'"". 4malamute.com. Retrieved March 24, 2017. 
  17. ^ "PAUL ALLEN PAYS FOR NEW TURF AT HUSKY STADIUM". fieldturf.com. Retrieved March 24, 2017. 
  18. ^ "Washington To Replace Husky Stadium Playing Surface". pac-12.com. Retrieved March 24, 2017. 
  19. ^ "UW, Alaska Airlines agree to naming-rights deal for Husky Stadium’s field". Seattle Times. September 3, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  20. ^ a b "It's settled: Where The Wave first started". Espn.com. 2013-03-01. Retrieved 2016-09-21. 
  21. ^ Daven Hiskey (2014-07-15). "Who Invented the Sporting Wave?". Todayifoundout.com. Retrieved 2016-09-21. 
  22. ^ "Best and Brightest 2008 | University of Washington Recognition Award Recipients". Washington.edu. Retrieved 2016-09-21. 
  23. ^ "Who started the wave?". San Diego Reader. 2002-08-29. Retrieved 2016-09-21. 
  24. ^ "ESPN.com: Page 2 : Please, don't blame me for this". Espn.go.com. 1981-10-15. Retrieved 2016-09-21. 
  25. ^ Miller, Ted (August 11, 2011). "Getting to know the new Husky Stadium". ESPN. 
  26. ^ Husky Stadium listing at official Huskies athletic site
  27. ^ "Loudest College Football Stadium?". YouTube. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  28. ^ Tim Booth AP Sports Writer
  29. ^ IdahoStatesman.com
  30. ^ a b Condotta, Bob (August 24, 2012). "New Husky Stadium: on time, on budget". The Seattle Times. 
  31. ^ Thiel, Art (August 10, 2011). "Thiel: UW Stadium Funding Near Goal Line". Sports Press Northwest. 
  32. ^ "Husky Stadium to debut after $280M renovation". USA Today. Associated Press. August 29, 2013. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  33. ^ Gall, Braden Ranking the Pac-12's College Football Stadiums. Athlon Sports, 2013-06-13.
  34. ^ Condotta, Bob (December 1, 2006). "UW Athletic Director Unveils New Husky Stadium Drawings". The Seattle Times. 
  35. ^ McKillop, Andrew. "NFL Exhibition Games Played at Neutral Sites » FootballGeography.com: Includes Non-League Away Games and/or Games Played at Non-League Stadiums". FootballGeography.com. Retrieved August 31, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Memphis, Tampa express interest in Buffalo Bills". Spartanburg (SC) Herald. Associated Press. January 15, 1971. p. 14. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
The Kingdome
The Kingdome
Home of the Seattle Seahawks
First half of 1994
2000 – 2001
Succeeded by
The Kingdome
CenturyLink Field