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Volume 22 No. 14
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A new use for track’s old bleacher seats

Photo: Darryl Webb

The metal bleachers at ISM Raceway are gone, but not forgotten.

The old 51,000-seat grandstand at the track was torn down and replaced by a 42,000-seat grandstand featuring new seats with chair backs. The new stands were also shifted to the west to offer fans more shade.

But many of the old aluminum bleachers aren’t on the scrap heap. Instead, designers with the Rossetti architecture firm reused them to create a new facade on the outer metal shell of the grandstands.
“It’s something we challenged the Rossetti team to figure out. How do we make the outside of the grandstand not look like a grandstand,” said Julie Giese, president of ISM Raceway.

Giese said 2,700 bleacher planks were used to create the new facade.

“You can still see the numbers on them. They look like fasteners but you can see the numbers,” said Matt Taylor, director of sports and entertainment and design lead for Detroit-based Rossetti.

Taylor — who has been working on designs for the track since 2010 — said the old bleachers were cut into various lengths to create a facade that mimics the profile of the Estrella Mountains next to the track.

Giese said the new grandstand and facade show fans the wholesale changes at the track even before they get inside.

“For me, it just looks so different when you drive over the bridge. It doesn’t look like the same facility,” she said.