As part of the $2.2 billion operating budget for 2014-15 approved Saturday, the Duke Board of Trustees signed off on massive renovations to Wallace Wade Stadium.
The most notable aspect of the project—which will commence after the upcoming football season—is the removal of the track that currently surrounds the field. The makeover is one of the highlights of the annual budget and will follow the construction of practice fields and renovations to Koskinen Stadium that occurred during the 2013-14 school year.
“We are excited to see this starting to come to fruition,” Deputy Director of Athletics Mike Cragg wrote in an email Monday. “The three fields built earlier this academic year have been a great addition to the intercollege sports and recreation, club sports and intramural world. It is now time to transform Wallace Wade Stadium into a more fan-friendly and game-exciting facility for our football program and our fans.”
The approval for the project comes on the heels of the selection of cornerback Ross Cockrell by the Buffalo Bills in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, another notable stepping stone for a football program trying to gain more national respect.
The improvements to the 85-year-old facility will cost approximately $15 million. The funds for the project were raised privately as part of the Duke Forward Campaign, Cragg noted. He also said that the design for the project “began taking shape in 2010” and that fundraising began shortly thereafter.
“After this season we’ll begin the complete transformation of the facility by removing the track, lowering the field, installing the lower level bleachers closest to the new natural grass field, new video scoreboard, and the new ADA-required field access elevator – all ready for the 2015 season,” Cragg wrote. “In addition, [in] the offseason [after the 2014 season we] will begin the removal of the Finch-Yeager Building and begin construction of the new suites, club level and pressbox. That is scheduled to be ready in 2016—pending future Board approvals.”
The Blue Devils are slated to welcome Northwestern, N.C. Central, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Miami and Pittsburgh to Wallace Wade Stadium in 2015 after the first set of updates are completed.