Built in 1930, Fauver Stadium is home to many of the school’s varsity teams and has serviced club and intramural programs along the way.
At a seating capacity of roughly 5,200, the stadium offers an intimate setting for spectators that has them right on top of the action on the field. It is a facility that is deeply connected to its student body, as seemingly every undergraduate or graduate student has stepped on the field at one time or another during his or her college days.
As a new crop of freshmen enters the school each fall, however, the stadium has begun to show its age, ushering in the belief that some much-needed updates to its facilities may be on the horizon.
Throughout the vast modern landscape of college athletics, programs strive to build brand new facilities for their student athletes, showcasing their talent and the school’s commitment to excellence on the playing field.
UR Athletic Director George VanderZwaag believes that this school is no exception, as he, along with other members of the athletic department, have expressed an interest in and are planning a substantial renovation effort aimed at improving the facilities within Fauver, along with building a multi-purpose field adjacent to it.
Although VanderZwaag says the University is still in the planning stages of this renovation project, he believes it will follow a similar pattern as the one employed a decade earlier when the Robert B. Goergen Athletic Center underwent a $14.6 million refurbishment, a full-scale renovation project involving the Fieldhouse, the Zornow Center and the Palestra. As was the case with that project, VanderZwaag says the school is looking to make a series of ‘functional improvements,” this time to its outdoor facilities.
While the details of the project still need to be ironed out, with funding being a major piece to the puzzle, the targeted renovation areas include the locker rooms, equipment rooms and training rooms within the stadium.
VanderZwaag says that because the stadium presents the ‘charms and challenges of a 1930s building, the athletic department is looking to expand the existing areas into a more ‘flexible use space.”
In addition to the proposed Fauver renovation, the project also entails construction of another ‘multi-purpose” field in the area right next to Anderson and Wilder towers. The Towers Field plan could potentially add lights above the field with the expectation of turning it into a multi-faceted facility.
‘This space doesn’t reflect the aesthetic quality of the rest of the campus,” VanderZwaag said. ‘We want to give it, for lack of a better term, more curb appeal.”
VanderZwaag believes the project is aimed at supporting the various athletic programs at every level on campus, from improving the varsity locker room areas to providing more practice space and fields for club and intramural teams to play on.
As far as the latter is concerned, the project intends to double the amount of space for intramural sports to meet the demands of the rise in interest and participation on the intramural level in recent years.
Before the athletic department can reach the design phase of the plan, proper funding needs to be addressed for the estimated $15 million cost of the renovation project.
VanderZwaag says although the department is discussing potential means of generating funds for the project with donors, the current economic climate has made it difficult to finalize all of the financial details.
Once the project reaches the construction stage, VanderZwaag believes it will have an impact on the scheduling of practices and the use of locker room space. However, VanderZwaag says the athletic department would look to ‘protect the core months from September to May” from many of the scheduling issues that come with a renovation project of this magnitude.
Despite the fact that this proposed renovation appears to be on the cusp of changing the entire face of the outdoor athletic facilities on campus, VanderZwaag maintains that Fauver Stadium will retain its renowned impact on the community at large.
Furthermore, the experience of taking the field at Fauver Stadium or sitting in the stands on a fall afternoon won’t be diminished by the potential changes to the facilities.
While some improvements on the infrastructure could be made, the atmosphere will remain as they preserve the stadium’s past.
‘It’s an iconic stadium, so I think it resonates with people,” VanderZwaag said. ‘They don’t build them like this anymore, and it is a very special place.”
History will continue to play an integral role in shaping the identity of Fauver Stadium, as these proposed revisions will only add to the long relationship between the school and its stadium.
Fans and students alike should stay tuned for updates on the renovation project as plans progress in the future.
Harmand is a member of the class of 2010.