At its regular meeting yesterday, the UA Board of Trustees approved the financing and construction plans for a $55 million, on-campus football stadium that will:
- contribute to the overall student experience at UA,
- enhance student recruitment and retention, and
- stand as a vibrant, urban, multi-purpose facility in which students, faculty/staff, families and the community will gather year-round for events and activities.
The stadium and field — named InfoCision Stadium and Summa Field, respectively — are expected to be ready for the Zips' 2009 home opener against the University of Kentucky Wildcats on Sept. 12.
The stadium project launches the second phase of UA's New Landscape for Learning campus enhancement initiative. As with buildings opened during the first phase, the stadium design calls for a bold appearance of brick and glass. The facility will be located in the southeastern quadrant of campus, filling the block bounded by South Union, Exchange, Spicer and Vine streets.
The stadium will be financed by a $30 million fund-raising campaign (of which $21 million has already been pledged), and the sale of bonds financed via stadium revenues.
"This is an exciting time for The University of Akron, and fans of Zips football," says UA President Luis M. Proenza. "An on-campus football stadium is one of the cornerstone facilities that will enhance the collegiate experience. This new facility will create a game-day atmosphere that will generate a new level of excitement, spirit and pride for the University and Zips athletics."
UA Board Chair Dr. William F. Demas says, “We are extending our New Landscape for Learning initiative into its second phase by moving forward with the campus stadium project. Our fans and community members have been asking for this for a long time, and we have found a way to make the dream come true.
“Not only will the stadium provide a proud home to the Akron Zips football team,” he adds, “it will provide countless opportunities to our students and to the community by hosting special events, intramural and high school sports, and various recreational activities.”
Details about the stadium released today include:
- Capacity of 30,000, with the possibility of end-zone seats in the future;
- End-zone grass berm seating;
- A club level with seating for 486;
- Academic classrooms and labs that will be used six days per week;
- Rooms for academic advising and tutoring for student-athletes;
- 172 loge seats;
- 15 private suites with seating for 16 each;
- 300 ADA seat locations;
- 21 heated restrooms with ADA access, and family restrooms;
- A state-of-the-art scoreboard with video screen, and a sound system with speakers throughout the concourse and restrooms; and
- 10 concession stands, a full team shop and ticket office.
The condition of the aging Rubber Bowl and the rising costs of maintenance or refurbishing of the facility to modern-day standards made the decision to build a new stadium a necessity, according to Mack Rhoades, UA director of athletics.
“This elite facility will be a wonderful destination for Zips fans of all ages, and I expect it will gain attention and admiration not just throughout the Mid-American Conference, but nationwide as well,” Rhoades says. “More importantly, it will provide a great benefit to the University, the athletics department and the football program.
“The Rubber Bowl has been a landmark in our community,” he adds. “But a recent poll of our season ticket holders showed that the location, condition and amenities of this facility are discouraging fans from attending games and enjoying what should be a great family experience.
“I believe this on-campus facility will be a great change in our campus culture. There are few things as exciting than the atmosphere surrounding a college football game day,” Rhoades says. “To have 30,000 people walking around our campus, seeing kids throwing a football in parking lots and grass areas, and the smell of food from tailgating is one of those quintessential collegiate experiences.”
More information about the stadium: