Messenger - Vol. 3, No. 1, Page 10
Fall 1993
On Campus
Stadium renovations

     Fightin' Blue Hens fans this football season are enjoying new bench
seating in the stands and are seeing their team play on a firmer playing
field, newly equipped with a drainage system.
     Beginning in mid-1992 and continuing to the start of football season
1993, the repairs to Delaware Stadium have been extensive. In addition to
the bleachers and the playing field, both east and west stands were
cleaned, caulked and sealed so they no longer leak.
     Rain was a problem in Delaware Stadium, which is made up of the field,
built in 1951; the west stands, built in 1964; and the east stands, built
in 1970. It was a particular problem on the playing field. The high clay
and silt content of the soil, coupled with the absence of a drainage
system, made for a soggy and slippery field during and after a rain.
     Blue Hens Head Coach Harold R. "Tubby" Raymond recalls that rain
turned the field into "muck" so deep that, on occasion, the University's
Marching Band could not do a halftime show.
     Field renovations took place in the spring and summer. The top 9
inches of sod and soil were removed, and the field was regraded and
upwardly bowed to ensure drainage. The new zenith, or crown, is 14 inches
above the sidelines, 4 inches lower than the old one.
     The crown was lowered to accommodate a new mix of topsoil, a special
blend imported from southern Delaware that is composed of 80 percent sand
for better drainage. The field was then resodded. Grass in the new sod
should be able to develop larger and deeper root systems because the
sandier soil is much looser than the old, heavily compacted clay mixture.
     Finally, a new sprinkler irrigation system was installed and an
underground drainage system was created, making possible the removal of
excess water to a sanitary sewer.
     "Given that more Delawareans go to the stadium than anywhere else, it
behooves us to provide as nice a facility as possible," says Raymond. With
the capacity to hold more than 23,000 people, the stadium has averaged more
than 19,000 fans in attendance at football games in past years.
     Although the stands had previously received minor repairs to treads
and flooring, "This is the first time we've addressed Delaware Stadium as
an entity, as an entire stadium," says Edgar N. Johnson, athletic director.
The money for the renovation came from funds that are set aside yearly for
deferred maintenance projects.
     "We were trying to provide enhancements to this major facility, and it
is now in first-class shape serving our athletes, staff and fans well,"
says Johnson.
                                                  -Virginia Andrews