UAlbany’s New $24 Million Multi-Sports Complex: A Premier Venue for University, Community-at-Large
ALBANY, N.Y. (September 10, 2013) -- As the University at Albany football team enters one of the nation’s top Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) conferences, the University will officially unveil its new football stadium, part of its overall $24 million multi-sport complex, when the Great Danes play the University of Rhode Island at 7 p.m. on September 14. The complex was funded in part through the New York State legislature as well as private support.
The stadium opening marks a signature moment for UAlbany athletics. As sources of pride for both the region and UAlbany’s 159,000 alumni, athletics at the multi-sports complex are expected to attract even more outstanding student-athletes and non-athletes to the University.
UAlbany's new football stadium is set to open on Sept. 14.
In 2013, UAlbany is playing for the first time in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), a conference which has placed a school in the FCS championship game on four occasions and collected two national championships in only six years of existence.
"This new facility is a testament to the tireless dedication of UAlbany Vice President for Athletic Administration and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Lee McElroy, football coach Bob Ford, the entire athletics staff and our incredible student athletes," said UAlbany President Robert J. Jones. "Through their efforts, UAlbany's Division I athletics program has become a model for success, highlighted by its commitment to academic excellence and sportsmanship."
"This stadium is a tremendous acknowledgment of all that our coaching staffs and athletes have accomplished over the years, particularly the last decade," said McElroy. "UAlbany athletes set a standard for achievement, both on the field and in the classroom. Our students, coaches, alumni and community supporters now have the Division I-level facilities their dedication merits."
"I congratulate the University at Albany as it moves into a new era with the opening of this state-of-the-art stadium," said New York State Sen. Neil D. Breslin. "The facility will provide the University and the entire Capital Region community with a wonderful venue to enjoy sporting events, concerts, and of course cheer on the Great Danes to further victories."
"This complex further demonstrates how the University at Albany is committed to providing students with opportunities to excel in the classroom and on the field," said New York State Senator Hugh T. Farley, ’58 and Professor Emeritus of Business Law. "I congratulate the players, coaches and the entire UAlbany community on this momentous occasion, and look forward to cheering on our teams as they represent the University and the Capital Region with distinction."
The state-of-the-art 8,500-seat facility includes a distinct press level, stair towers, main concourse, concessions and other spectator amenities. The stadium also features a scoreboard with a 39' by 22' high-definition video display and point-source sound system behind the south end zone.
The stadium field is named in honor of Ford, the only coach the UAlbany football program has known. Ford built the UAlbany program from the ground up, taking the Great Danes from a club team to an NCAA Division I FCS contender. With 264 career victories, Ford ranks second among all active college football coaches and first among NCAA Division I active coaches. Ford, who is set to retire at the end of the year, has won four Northeast Conference Coach of the Year honors and led the Great Danes to six NEC titles.
More importantly, Ford has served as a positive role model for generations of football players at UAlbany. "The first goal I have is I want to turn out great young men, men who are going to have an impact on their society, impact on the community, men of integrity, men of great character," said Ford in 2012, at an event held in his honor. "And we’ve turned out a ton of them. I’ll miss the kids and having my batteries recharged on a daily basis. I will miss seeing kids that overcome phenomenal things."
The new multi-sports complex transforms the University's outdated 1960's playing field into a state-of-the-art athletic and recreational complex. The facility will be home to Great Danes NCAA Division I football and soccer teams, as well as the University’s track & field venue. The project was completed by Whiting-Turner Contracting Company; with support from principle architect and designer Heery International Inc., and site engineer Clough Harbor & Associates.
The multi-use synthetic turf field behind Dutch Quad is fully complete and available for student recreational and intramural use. The sports lighting system has recently been activated and programmed for use by UAlbany Campus Recreation.
Repairs and upgrades meeting NCAA Division I standards to the University's track & field venue are still in progress. Over the summer months, the old track surface was removed while new utility and other infrastructure was set in place and the existing sports lighting system relocated. When the venue is complete in early winter 2013, the facility will be home to a new nine-lane track surface, natural turf infield for field events and a nearby new hammer throw facility south of the existing softball field.