HOK Sport conducts assessment of UD athletics facilities

10:35 a.m., July 21, 2008--The highly respected global sports architecture firm HOK Sport is conducting a thorough assessment of athletics and recreation facilities at the University of Delaware, with initial results to be reported this fall.

The goal of the project is to provide UD with solutions to short- and long-term needs of both recreation services, including club and intramural sports, and intercollegiate athletics.

Representatives of HOK Sport are working closely with UD coaches, the athletics/recreation department and the University's Facilities Planning group to develop a plan to guide possible new construction and renovation of facilities and fields, to provide an architectural vision and to develop a schedule for athletic facility programming project prioritization.

The plan will be tied to a strategic plan being developed for intercollegiate athletics and recreation as part of the University's overall Path to Prominence™ initiative.

“The University of Delaware has a long, proud tradition of excellence in intercollegiate athletics and in recreation services, and it is important that we take steps now to prepare for the future in order to remain in the vanguard,” said Patrick Harker, UD president. “We are pleased to be working with a company of the stature of HOK Sport to develop a comprehensive plan for future athletic and recreation facilities.”

The first phase of the plan will include a facility assessment and detailed reports on the condition of the Bob Carpenter Center, Delaware Field House, Delaware Stadium, Carpenter Sports Building, the Fred Rust and Gold ice arenas, Delaware Mini-Stadium, Rullo Stadium, Bob Hannah Stadium and the Delaware Softball Stadium.

In this initial phase, HOK Sport will concentrate on three key priority areas--an academic support area, an expansion of the weight training facilities, and a sports medicine clinic. All three are for the direct benefit of the University's student-athletes.

An academic support area is needed to provide opportunities for student-athletes as they cope with the rigorous educational demands of a first-rate University while also competing in NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics.

With Fightin' Blue Hens student-athletes working year around to prepare to compete during their respective seasons, the Chuck Hall Memorial Weight Room in the Bob Carpenter Center has seen an enormous increase in use and is in need of expansion.

The sports medicine clinic will provide a leading-edge facility for the University's top-flight sports medicine and athletics training staff, which provides care for student-athletes in all varsity sports.

“This plan will provide UD with important information on current facilities and a blueprint for the future as we strive to attract quality student-athletes. Modern athletics and support facilities enhance our success on the field and provide a positive game day experience for our loyal fans,” said K.C. Keeler, UD head football coach.

“We are addressing all facility issues that support our student-athletes and help them achieve excellence on the field, on the court and in the classroom,” said Bonnie Kenny, UD women's volleyball head coach.

It is expected that preliminary sketches for these new facilities, known as design charrettes, will be available in early 2009. Sketches and additional information will be made public at Delaware Stadium during home football games this fall.

The second phase of the project will include detailed information on future facility needs and a master plan to serve as a roadmap for the University as it moves forward.

“We are conceptualizing facilities that support the needs of not just one sport or team but as many teams and students as possible. Our proficiency in athletic facility design includes a commitment to sustainable design and a focus on accommodating the entire athlete, coach and fan experience,” said Sherri Privitera, HOK Sport project manager for this study.

HOK Sport is well known to the UD community for its earlier work on the Bob Carpenter Center project, originally opened in 1992. Other HOK projects in the region include M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, home of the Baltimore Ravens, and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, home of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Article by Neil Thomas