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SBD/June 29, 2012/FacilitiesPrint All
Daytona Int'l Speedway has taken the first step toward a major redevelopment of the 53-year-old facility, filing paperwork with city and hiring an architect. The steps are the first in a six- to eight-month process that could result in an overhaul of the speedway's grandstand, the addition of new suites, the creation of a modern exterior, a redesigned midway and more. DIS President Joie Chitwood said, "We have elements that are original to (the speedway's) first year. As we continue to be the world center of racing, we have to look at what's next. That's the important element now: what can Daytona be for the next 50 years?" ISC, which owns DIS, on Thursday filed paperwork asking the city of Daytona Beach to rezone the speedway so that it could undertake the redevelopment effort. The speedway currently is zoned as a major sports district and is seeking approval to become a "plan master development" zone, which would allow it to develop anything from retail space to dining facilities to a museum. Chitwood said that the redevelopment at the speedway would be separate from ISC's Daytona Live! Project, which calls for the development of a hotel, theater and residential housing across the street from the speedway. He added: "We filed (the zoning requests) separately, but you'd hope there would be synergy between the two projects." DIS' zoning request will need approval from the city, the planning commission and the city council. Chitwood said that could take anywhere from six to eight months. If the city rezones the facility, he will then have to go to ISC's board and secure capital for redevelopment. Chitwood said he does not know if they will seek municipal funding or not, as well.
ARCHITECTURE FIRM HIRED: In addition to filing paperwork to be rezoned, DIS two months ago hired Rossetti, the Michigan-based architecture firm that designed the Ford Field and Red Bull Arena, to assist it with the redevelopment project. The firm has not done any creative work to date but has brought Chitwood and others up to speed on amenities being added at other sports facilities and discussed possibilities for DIS. Chitwood said, "The minute I get a mock-up and creative, I'm going to show it to the world." The last major renovation done at the speedway took place in '04, when DIS undertook a multi-million-dollar overhaul of its infield, adding the Sprint FanZone, new garages and the Daytona 500 Club.
Univ. of Maryland Deputy AD for External Operations Nate Pine said that the total cost of the school's new synthetic turf football field featuring heat-reducing Cool Play technology “is just more than" $3M. He added that is "nearly three times as much as standard synthetic playing fields.” In DC, Liz Clarke noted the cost is "being funded by private donations." Of the $3M cost, roughly $1M “covers the installation of a stormwater management facility that complies with state regulations” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 6/26). Meanwhile, UCLA AD Dan Guerrero confirmed that new synthetic and natural grass field surfaces "will be installed in August at the football team's practice facility at Spaulding Field.” In L.A., Austin Knoblauch reported the $1.2M project “is expected to be completed before the Bruins return to Westwood for practices after opening camp in San Bernardino” (LATIMES.com, 6/26).
GIVE ME LIBERTY: In Memphis, Kyle Veazey noted there “has been some question about whether the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium video board project would be completed in time" for the University of Memphis football team's Sept. 1 opener. It is a “construction project and not just the installation of a new TV, after all, and it seemed as if the quick turnaround from the City Council's early April approval of the deal” to the first game on Sept. 1 “was, well, ambitious.” But UM reaffirmed that “not only would the project be complete by Sept. 1, but it's on schedule to be complete by mid-August.” That is “important, considering that the new production setup will require some getting used to” (COMMERCIALAPPEAL.com, 6/28).
CELL OUT: In Milwaukee, Don Walker notes the Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is "leaving the U.S. Cellular Arena and moving its men's basketball program back to the Klotsche Center." UWM AD Andy Geiger Tuesday said that the team is "headed back to campus because students ought to have better access to home basketball games." While Horizon League rules require its members to play in arenas that can seat at least 5,000, Geiger said that the school "sought and was granted a waiver by the conference" to move to the 3,400-seat Klotsche Center (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 6/27).