Aug. 22, 2012
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BERKELEY -Football fans who pass through the gates of the renovated California Memorial Stadium this fall are in store for a host of improvements that boost the already epic experience of Cal football in Strawberry Canyon with significant upgrades, every one of which enriches the gameday experience in harmony with the original charm of the Golden Bears' home field.
The culmination of a true community effort, the stadium renovation offers a better experience for all fans, from their approach to their arrival, to their in-game enjoyment and postgame convenience.
"The renovated stadium will provide the features we all expect of a new venue," said Bob Milano Jr., the assistant athletic director for capital projects. "Everything we've added - from expanded restrooms, ample circulation and new food and beverage, to modern sound and video displays - was done with a commitment to retaining the unique features of Memorial Stadium, including but not limited to the historical facade, the flagpoles and the Cal student rooting section."
Ticket holders on approach to the stadium will see its majestic west wall, restored to resemble its original 1923 appearance, from as far away as San Francisco. New entry points on arrival, including the Haas Grand Staircase on the north side, lead patrons from Piedmont Avenue to the stadium gates at the north and south ends, as well as through the Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance. Fans will arrive at the entrance to the Simpson Center via the Woolsey-Isaac Staircase, to the left of which is the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Plaza.
Fans milling outside the stadium will take particular pride is the beautiful garden entrance on the north side, which includes a switchback ramp to assure that fans of all abilities can conveniently approach. A view of the familiar grizzly bear statue is boosted by the opportunity to interact with the now fully accessible Andy Smith Bench outside the entrance on the plaza, which itself offers views back down campus and across the bay.
Outside the west side of the stadium on the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Plaza, fans will explore an almost two-acre space while enjoying food and beverage concessions, with cuisine now prepared inside the stadium at a dedicated kitchen facility, a feature newly added for the first time in the stadium's history.
Entering the stadium on gameday, fans will immediately notice the greatly enlarged spaces. The main concourse tunnel is triple the width of the old stadium's, with an open-air view looking west toward the setting sun. Flat-screen TVs and radio broadcasts emitted through modern sound systems keep the fans connected to the action on the field.
In-stadium kitchen facilities will crank out delectable edibles by Cal Dining for the hungry football fan. Concession stands on the west side will accept Visa and MasterCard in addition to cash, while the east-side locations, as well as all portable carts around the stadium, continue to operate as cash-only offerings.
Newly appointed restrooms, which now include family bathrooms, are also three times their previous size and more than four times more plentiful.
Fan can also visit the newly designed Cal Athletic Hall of Fame Room, where their favorite Golden Bears are immortalized. The hall, located on the first level with entrances off the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Plaza, will remain open for an hour after each home game for all ticket holders.
Fans will move from the concourse to their seats through tunnelways onto the seating bowl - also three times as wide as pervious entrances to the seats - without any need to climb up or down stairs. Areas that do include staircases on the west side have been improved with handrails.
Once inside the stadium bowl among the 63,000 seats, fans will immediately notice better sight lines created by the four-foot drop of the field surface, which is now covered in Matrix Turf, a state-of-the art artificial surface. When they sit down, no longer will it be on wooden benches. They too have been replaced with aluminum bleachers. The new Peter E. Haas Press Box stands proudly above the spectator seating on the west side of the stadium.
New full-color replay boards are now on both the north and south ends of the stadium, supplied by TS Sports and Lighthouse Electric, along with an electronic LED banner across the west side on the press box to give fans on the east side a constant supply of information.
Another of the new features is a modern sound system that Shannon Holloway, the on-site coordinator for campus' Capital Projects, called "one of the biggest new elements fans will notice when entering the stadium."
Part of the environmental impact agreement with the community was to design a sound system that would have as little impact on the surrounding neighborhoods as possible. To find the best solution, the University called upon an alumna to design an innovative system for the stadium.
Berkeley-based Meyer Sound Laboratories, Inc. was founded by Cal graduate Helen Meyer and her husband, John. An industry leader in sound reinforcement, the company is widely-recognized for providing high-end sound systems for stadiums and concert venues around the world.
The renovated stadium features one of the very first installations of a new Meyer Sound product developed to provide a much clearer sound for fans while reducing the impact on the surrounding neighborhoods.
In place now are 38 "CAL" (column array loudspeakers) units installed around the outside rim of the facility steering down into the bowl. These units direct sound into the stadium using advanced digital sound beam-steering techniques and each tower is digitally aimable to project sound to a specific area with impressive clarity. Holloway described the difference in the new and old sound systems as "going from a small boom box to a state-of-the-art sound system in your house."
Fans' eyes will be as happy as their ears in the renovated stadium thanks to permanent lighting to better enable later afternoon and night games. The arrays have been added to the roofline on the west side and in vertical formations on the east side.
All these services that place the fan first-- from a first aid station in the stadium that has also tripled in size and greatly enhanced its service capabilities; to the new Tailgate Town on Maxwell Family Field, which offers an improved fan-friendly experience and is open to the public - ensure that the excitement for Cal football will continue to flow in, around and outside of the beautifully renovated stadium for many generations to come.
Visit calbears.com/gameday to learn more about the exciting improvements to the fan experience at Memorial Stadium. Welcome Home and Go Bears!