Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lambeau Field Expansion

Lambeau Field, the oldest NFL stadium and third-oldest professional stadium behind Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston, is getting another make-over.

In 2003 the Green Bay Packers finished a much needed makeover and expansion to Lambeau Field. In 1995 Lambeau Field accommodated 60,890 patrons, following the 2003 expansion, Lambeau Field accommodated 73,128 patrons. As you can see from the rendering to the left, the 2003 expansion gave Lambeau Field a nice new brick facade that gave Lambeau Field an updated look that did not compromise the rich history of the stadium*. If you have any question that Lambeau Field is more attractive following the 2003 expansion, check out the before and after pictures:

Lambeau Field Pre-2003

Lambeau Field Post-2003

For being one of the most historic stadiums in the world, Lambeau Field is always evolving. The Green Bay Packers added a new audio system for this season. Next year Lambeau Field will get new Mitsubishi Diamond Vision video boards as well. Although a new audio system to go along with new video boards is impressive, those are both appetizers to the tasty main course.

Following the expansion that will be completed in time for the 2013 season, the Green Bay Packers will add 6,600 seats to Lambeau Field. The expansion will raise Lambeau Field's capacity from 73,128 to 79,728. The entire $130 million project will be funded by the team, potentially through another stock sale (fingers crossed).

While some NFL franchises have a hard time selling tickets, the Green Bay Packers have roughly 80,000 fans on the season ticket waiting list so they have plenty of takers for the additional 6,600 seats that will have seat backs (quite underrated since most of Lambeau Field's seats are bleacher seats).

As you can see in the beautiful rendering to the left, the Packers will add seats to the south end zone that is currently the only opening in the bowl of luxury suites around the top of the stadium. The seats will be dispersed over four sections and will reportedly cost between $87 and $313. The project will have a rooftop viewing area that club-seat holders can use on game days and will hosts parties on non-game days. The expansion project will see 10 more elevators installed in the north and south ends zones and entry ways for people with disabilities. Finally and possibly most importantly to Lambeau Field patrons in general, the Packers will add new gates in both the north and south end zone that should help alleviate some of the congestion associated with entering the game.

The new 6,600 seats will be allocated through a seniority system. Current season ticket holders will get the right of first refusal where they could trade their current seats for some of the new seats. After that, some of the 80,000 people currently on the season ticket waiting list will move from potential season ticket holders to actual season ticket holders.

The Green Bay Packers are using some Cheesehead companies for the expansion with Miron Construction (based in Neenah, WI) serving as the general contractor after serving as one of the major subcontractors on previous Lambeau Field projects. Besides Miron Construction, Hammes Company Sports Development Inc. (based in Madison, WI) was named the project manager and Elkus Manfredi is the design architect.

The expansion will create roughly 1,600 construction jobs through 2013, which should produce $70 million in wages. According to an economic impact study, the 6,600 additional seats are supposed to produce $11 million annually by non-Brown County residents.

* = That was a direct shot at Soldier Field. Thanks to my uncles having season tickets for the Chicago Bears I get to see the Packers whenever they come to Chicago. As a Packer fan in Chicago, I honestly appreciate the sight lines that the new Soldier Field has compared to the old Solider Field but that still does not justify the Bears landing a space ship inside the historic columns of Soldier Field. I get that Chicago wanted to tie in Millennium Park (north east part of Grant Park) with the new Soldier Field but the design missed the mark.

1 comment:

  1. Any idea whether one can buy a print of that rendering at the top of this post?