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Kenan Stadium Expansion Set; Field House Leveled

Kenan Field House

Work is under way to replace the Spanish colonial Kenan Field House, which dated to 1927, with a $70 million privately funded project that will close in the east end of Kenan Stadium with luxury boxes, an academic support center for athletes and other amenities. (Photo by Sarah Arneson ’96)

Wrecking crews began taking down Kenan Field House on June 10 to make way for a $70 million privately funded project that will close in the east end of Kenan Stadium with luxury boxes, an academic support center for athletes and other amenities. Approved by the trustees in May, the addition will add 2,980 seats to the stadium’s current 60,000-seat capacity.

All are expected to be in place for the start of the 2011 football season; the Spanish colonial Kenan Field House, built with the stadium in 1927, had been replaced by rubble within days. A photo-a-day of the site is available online.

The new five-story structure will include a Center of Excellence for athletes, the athletics department’s Carolina Leadership Academy, an Olympic (nonrevenue) sports strength and conditioning center, visiting football locker room, club seats and individual suites.

Kenan field house demolition

Kenan field house demolition. (Photo by David E. Brown ’75)

Sales of club seats and individual suites began in October. Those sales will provide about half of the funding. Private donations will fund the rest of the project.

“We are very pleased with the sales to date, and we’re even more excited about how our donors have stepped forward in recognizing the need to provide our student-athletes with a first-class academic and training center,” said John Montgomery, executive director of the Rams Club.

The academic center will be a 30,000-square-foot facility that will triple the size of the one that opened in 1986. It will include classrooms, computer labs, a writing center, auditorium, individual and group tutorial/conference rooms, and offices for the academic support staff, career services, community outreach, life skills and the Carolina Leadership Academy.

The strength and conditioning center will be housed at field level and will include 13,600 square feet of cardio and strength training equipment and a 40-yard track. That almost doubles the amount of space that is available currently.

The additional seating in the end zone, called the Blue Zone, offers 1,836 seats in the Concourse Club/Loge a few feet from the field, 824 seats in the Upper Club/Loge on the fourth floor and 320 seats in 20 suites on the fifth floor.

The individual suites, each of which has 16 seats, sell for $50,000 a year. Each seat in the club/loge levels range from $750 to $2,500 per season.

Although still distinctive by its stucco walls and terra cotta roof, on demolition day the field house actually bore little resemblance to the original building. An addition was built across the back in 1958; in 1964, wings were added to either side that broke sharply from the original architectural style; in 1977, the courtyard on the front of the building between the two original wings was filled in; and a large Student Athlete Development Center was added on the north side in 1986.

Considering the building boom on campus over the past decade, relatively few buildings have been demolished. In the past 15 years, Carolina has lost:

  • part of the hospital complex knows as the Biological Sciences Research Center, in 1997;
  • the hospital’s psychiatric wing, know as “South Wing,” 1997;
  • the Scuttlebutt, 1997;
  • the Victory Village Day Care Center, 1998;
  • the Indoor Track (also known as the second Tin Can), 1999;
  • portions of Odum Village married and family student housing, starting in 2004;
  • Chase Hall, 2005;
  • West House, 2006;
  • Nash Hall (2007) and Miller Hall (2010), two small buildings built by the U.S. Navy during World War II;
  • Venable Hall (2008);
  • the Dental Research Building (2009); and
  • the Gravely Building, former tuberculosis sanitarium (2010)

More online…

  • View a day-by-day images of the stadium construction site.
  • Southern Beauty: Carved gently out of the woods 75 years ago, nothing says “priceless gem” to Carolina people the way Kenan Stadium does.
    From the September/October 2002 issue of the Carolina Alumni Review, available online to GAA members.
  • Kenan Memories: We invited alumni to share fond memories of Kenan Stadium, which marked its 80th anniversary in 2007. Responses are in the November/December 2007 issue of the Carolina Alumni Review, available online to GAA members. Read them here.

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