EUGENE, Ore. — A Washington state man has filed paperwork to have the 93-year-old East Grandstand at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field designated with historic status to prevent the school from tearing it down.
The Register-Guard reported in a story on Saturday that Bob Penny of Bellingham, Washington, filed the paperwork on March 23.
Penny is a running fan who attended the school in the 1970s and says the grandstand should be preserved.
He now works as a residential remodeler in the Bellingham area.
“I have a pretty good knowledge of what it takes to restore a building,” said Penny, 58. “The case for tearing down the grandstands is almost nonexistent. It doesn’t hold water by any standard except the standard of, ‘We just want to build something new.'”
Hayward Field is a famed track and field stadium. But the school wants to triple seating capacity to up to 30,000 for the 2021 World Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
“There are a variety of safety concerns with the structure,” UO spokesman Tobin Klinger told the newspaper in an email, noting one problem involves access as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. “It lacks seismic reinforcement and it is not ADA compliant. Moving to a new design allows us to address many of those issues and build a world class venue for our track athletes and the fan experience.”
Officials also said Penny doesn’t have the authority to seek historic status for the grandstand because he’s not the owner.
Penny is undeterred.
“Part of this is to try to create a nucleus of concern that’s crystallized in a clear way, rather than just a diverse discussion,” he said. “Something where the public can exert pressure against the state Department of Education, which owns the building and can do the right thing.”
Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com