Delaware set to begin $60 million athletics renovations
Managing Sports Editor
In November 2017, the university announced that it would be renovating Delaware Stadium. Now, in the fall of 2018, construction is set to start.
The $60 million Build Our Home fundraising initiative is a part of the Delaware First Campaign which raises funds for research, facilities, learning and athletics at Delaware. Renovations will begin following the end of the Blue Hens 2018 football season. The university provided $25 million and the Athletics Department had to raise the remaining $35 million. With just $3 million dollars left to raise, Delaware got the go ahead to start the process.
Delaware Stadium will first see renovations to its West stands — home side — including improved seating, club level seating and club room and an improved press box for the media and coaches. Sections C, D and E in the West stands will also have seat bottoms and backs. Right now, the stadium is all bleacher seating.
The money raised will also go to modernizing the stadium’s concession stands and bathrooms. However, Chrissi Rawak, Delaware’s athletic director, told the News Journal that the “pee wall” — a Delaware famous wall in which men urinate and water runs in from the pipes above — will remain in the southwest corner men’s bathroom in some way due to the strong opinions from Blue Hens fans to maintain it.
The club seating will be the first eight rows in the West stands and have a club room accessible from the stadium that, although the field will not be visible, will have televisions and a bar.
The renovations to the West side seating should be completed by the football team’s 2019 home opener against Delaware State on Aug. 29. The updated press box will be accessible, but not completely finished.
Along with renovations to the stadium, a new athletic center will be built named the Whitney Athletic Center. The center is named for the 1980 graduate, former Delaware golfer and Board of Trustees member, Ken Whitney and his wife Elizabeth K. Whitney. The Whitneys donated $10 million to the Build Our Home fundraising initiative.
The new athletic center will have a student center with academic support including tutoring, advisement and study spaces. The idea is to save athletes the time of running around campus between practices and training and have everything they need in one complex.
The center will also have a health and wellbeing center including a 10,000 square foot strength and conditioning space so multiple student athletes and teams can work out at once.
In addition, sports psychology resources will be held in the athletic center to provide counseling and team education sessions on mental health.
After this phase of the project is complete, Delaware will shift its focus to enhancing the Delaware Field House and the seating in the East stands — visitor’s side — as well as the seating in the end zones.
Delaware Stadium opened Nov. 15, 1952 and its last major enhancement was in 1975 — minor seating improvements were made in 1993. Needless to say many of these renovations are long overdue and will be highly anticipated by fans, the media, coaches and players alike continuing the momentum and excitement behind Delaware Athletics right now.