My proposal for Saving Edwards

Cal Junkie
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Hi all-

Since there is a poll regarding Cal T&F and whether to tear down Edwards Track stadium, I'd like to share a proposal I've cobbled together. I'm not a Premium board subscriber. Suggestions are welcome as it is in a well-polished rough draft stage. Cut and paste is below...

Save Edwards Stadium

OVERVIEW

In summer of 2017, a serious directive loomed as the University of California floated its plan to raze its iconic Colonel George C. Edwards Track & Field Stadium, a designated National Historic Landmark and the first track & field-only venue in the United States. In November, this proposal reached a more critical threshold when university Chancellor Carol Christ formally declared "in principle" to remove Edwards Stadium in order to create for-profit student housing to help mitigate its "impossible" $450 million deficit incurred by the extensive retrofit and upgrade of Cal's Memorial Stadium, home of its football team.

The proposition is discussed in greater detail here: http://www.dailycal.org/2017/11/02/uc-berkeley-chancellor-proposes-assuming-portion-cal-athletics-debt-exchange-developing-edwards-stadium/

The social, historical, collegiate and greater East Bay community cost resulting from the pending proposal to destroy Cal's Edwards Track stadium and Goldman Field appreciably outweighs the partial offset the site's destruction would contribute to Cal's deep deficit. Conversely, we offer an alternative approach that strikes a reasonable balance: preservation of the irreplaceable and far-reaching value of the stadium while thinking creatively about for-profit development capable of easing Cal's fiscal woes.

For countless individuals entering the university's campus, Edwards Stadium represents Cal's western gateway, engaging numerous visitors, comparable in volume to the internationally renowned Lawrence Hall of Science; for many inner city Berkeley residents this track facility represents their only contact with the university. When you also factor in the number of all-comers meets, high school and CIF section championship meets, educational clinics and college meets, plus graduation ceremonies, the university welcomes a steady flow of visitors from all walks of life solely because of its track & field venue.

The historic venue's demolition needlessly retrogrades several critical elements of the university. The caliber and competitive level of the University of California's NCAA and club-level sports teams would fall off, and the fitness activities and campus experience of its greater student body (including its graduate students as well as campus faculty and staff), would suffer a precipitous decline in quality. The broader communities of Berkeley and Oakland, plus many inner city youth groups which rely on safe off-hours track oval access as a healthy outlet, would also be unfairly targeted by this plan.

HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE

This Art Deco-styled stadium was designed by architects Warren C. Perry and George W. Kelham, and was named after World War I military hero Colonel George C. Edwards
Cal Men's track and field is the oldest athletic program at the university which began intercollegiate competition at the University of California in 1872
In 1895 the ubiquitous "Golden Bears" was coined by the Cal track team on a road trip to a meet
Cal track & field has produced one team, 26 individual and three relay national championships
Edwards stadium is the first track-only facility developed in the United States; it opened in 1932 and is protected by the City of Berkeley as a National Historic Landmark
Site of 12 World records, 26 National records and 24 NCAA Collegiate records
Has hosted eight NCAA Track & Field Championships
Has hosted several historically significant US-USSR dual track meets during the Cold War
A total demolition would clash with the Landmark and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) aspects of CEQA within the state's Office of Planning and Research: http://www.ceqanet.ca.gov/
A recent Historic Structure report indicates the facility is widely used and in good condition (link):

https://capitalstrategies.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/hsr_edwardsstadium_final_oct2013.pdf

UNIVERSITY SPORTS AND STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS AFFECTED

1. Cal Men's and Women's Track & Field teams: Combined these men's and women's teams are the most culturally and gender-diverse athletic teams on campus (as well as one of the most diverse NCAA teams in the country); many high-achieving Cal student-athletes rely on some form of athletic scholarship to affordably attend the University of California; in more recent years its women's roster has also been consistently larger than the men's roster in a conscious effort to bolster the university's compliance with Title IX. In addition the track teams commit to hundreds of hours of annual community volunteer work. Cal roster raw diversity data (2009-2018) MEN: Total (474 athletes); White (262); Black (152), Hispanic (44), Asian-Pacific Islander (11), East Indian (3), Middle Eastern (2); (2009-2018) WOMEN: Total (428 athletes); White (209); Black (158); Hispanic (39); Asian-Pacific Islander (7); Middle Eastern (3); East Indian (2).
2. Cal Men's and Women's Cross Country teams: These exemplary student-athletes are ideal representatives of the university, with teams that consistently produce the highest aggregate GPA of any sports team on campus on an annual basis.
3. Cal Women's Soccer team: Has been in existence for 38 years and as of 2015 has produced 311 student athletes, including 122 Pac-12 All-Academic honors; it is also crucial to Title IX compliance.
4. Cal Triathlon Club: This high-performance club sports team is the largest group student-athlete sports organization on campus, supporting over 170 members; the Cal Triathlon Club is a consistent NCAA podium contender that has combined for three team and relay national championships since 2008, despite competing against teams with NCAA designations.
5. Cal Rec Sports Total Athletic Conditioning: This Cal Recreational course staple has reliably served the greater campus community as a widely beloved, accredited physical fitness class which is successfully utilized by scores of Cal students and staff throughout the academic year for healthy recreational activity purposes.
6. Cal ROTC: Cal's ROTC servicemen utilize Edwards stadium's facility to test and train their officers
7. Cal Recreational Sports Facility: Cal students, staff, faculty, alumni, and greater community pay monthly membership dues to RSF and with an expectation to have scheduled track access during morning and mid-day hours as a key component of their financial agreement with Cal Rec Sports.

LACK OF ALTERNATIVE VENUE OPTIONS

Other than Edwards track stadium, there is a dearth of viable local options for a suitable training facility for Cal's track & field teams as well as many of its other intercollegiate sports teams. Berkeley high school has a nearby track, but it is largely inaccessible to the public for universal reasons: the BHS student body consists of minors, the facility is in use for much of the day with its student teams, and the Cal athletic department should not anticipate it would be welcomed there.

Clark-Kerr's dirt track is a non-starter. This site features an imprecisely measured, dirt-surfaced track at the top of Dwight Way situated directly on top of a fault line. According to former Cal lead architect Jim Horner, who recently retired from the university's staff, the Clark-Kerr track straddles the Hayward fault and its location is untenable for the construction of a new and modern track for several reasons.

Any track placed at the Clark-Kerr track site would fail to meet the rigid specifications established by the NCAA for regulation track dimensions, and this site is ill-suited for field events. Cal's men's and women's soccer teams would no longer have a remaining practice field if track hosted its field event practices there. To complicate matters, the vocal Panorama hill community and locals would ardently resist any alteration of the beautiful natural setting, plus the prospect of adding more Cal sporting events.

A Clark-Kerr track site would also fall well short as a competitive alternative, especially for a university in the PAC-12 conference. Other in-conference schools such as the University of Colorado, the University of Oregon, Stanford University, UCLA and so forth, are expanding their facilities, as are major universities on a national basis such as the University of Michigan; Cal track & field would quickly fade into irrelevance, while other sports, clubs, students and community members would suffer a tremendous loss.

In sum, there is no viable campus venue or available open space on which to build another legitimate track oval. Yet in spite of this grim prognosis, it is still possible to preserve Edwards track stadium's vital facilities, and allow for a reasonable compromise which includes critical student housing construction.

PROPOSAL AND SOLUTION

This proposal recommends development of only one side of Edwards track stadium, either the West stands or East stands. Though both aspects have pros and cons, either option is more pragmatic and less costly than leveling the entire facility and attempting to construct a new track and sports team practice venue elsewhere on campus.

Construction of for-profit student and/or community housing on just one side of the Edwards Stadium facility could afford much-needed financial relief to the University of California, while still providing a sufficient compromise that preserves its historic athletic venues, Edwards Track and Goldman Field (the women's soccer field).

For example, Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., has seamlessly combined its student housing with its football field. This would also work for Edwards Stadium.

Image: http://www.guhoyas.com/facilities/gu-harbin-field.html

The upshot is this would ultimately reduce the seating capacity at Edwards Stadium from 22,000 to 11,000, a worthwhile concession to the university's bottom line. The general facility would remain intact and not have to be rebuilt somewhere else. However this proposal also provides some meaningful land space to help the university ameliorate a portion of its debt by constructing housing on the Oxford St. (West) side or Evans Baseball Diamond (East) side of Edwards Track stadium. If one wanted to take this concept a step further, it may also be possible to wrap a small portion of the prospective housing construction around the Bancroft Way (South) side of the track. The North side of Edwards track features Cal's NCAA tennis courts, and therefore would not be a suitable alternative.

After evaluating the pros and cons of prospective housing construction on either the West or East side of Edwards stadium, an informal analysis indicates it would be slightly preferable but more difficult to build on the East side of Edwards Track stadium, which abuts the Evans Diamond baseball field complex. The East side construction would preserve the following aspects of Edwards Stadium, as well as help offset some of the breezy weather conditions that tend to affect the facility on a regular basis:

Pros:

Preserves traditional finish line configuration of Edwards Track
Preserves Goldman Field (Cal's women's soccer team playing field and venue)
Preserves existing press boxes plus overhead light structures for nighttime illumination
Preserves redwood trees at SW corner of campus at Oxford St. adjacent to Bancroft Way
Retains visible architectural configuration on the west border of campus
It would not obscure late afternoon sunlight
Helps protect the venue from swirling breezes
Available land space is equal on both sides
The East stands are in a greater state of disrepair than the more commonly used West stands; it would make more sense to replace them with student and community housing units

Cons:

Construction on the East side might affect the baseball stadium with temporary closures

Two professional colleagues have provided several sketch renderings of the recommended construction:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155210258917737&set=p.10155210258917737&type=3&theater

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fgLKvPJhig-eoM24No2AV7UbqjPX0Xko/view

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xT_GEEUWJUtVAtmjBC2sf1iu_p0tlr4X/view

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_VPMkWcIYu4cCbOcEPzJh2ZOerplXbrC/view


CLOSING ANALYSIS

The wholesale forfeiture of Edwards Stadium for student housing units will do widespread harm and little good, displacing thousands of high-achieving student-athletes and greater East Bay community members at large, all of whom are reliant on this track venue to achieve their fitness and recreational goals. It will also generate substantial upheaval on several fronts within the university and in the local community. Last but not least, it would be wasteful to tear down a major facility only to have to reconstruct some of its aspects elsewhere on campus when there is little to no available space and virtually no other options exist.

In conclusion, we recommend the fair and balanced approach of constructing housing structures in place of the West or East stands of Edwards. This would allow both Goldman Field and Edwards track to remain intact, yet still provides ample latitude for the university to utilize a significant portion of its available resources to help resolve its financial burden.
joe amos yaks
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Thank you for putting these notions out there, but you have chosen to illustrate only redevelopment of the west side of Edwards while noting that it might be more logical to redevelop the east stands area (adjacent to Evans Field). Perhaps you have illustrations of both?
Jeff82
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I think it's a reasonable alternative, if the numbers can work out to provide some relief to the athletic department financial difficulties. I also still think sports cuts are likely, and that baseball should go, with Evans repurposed. That ties in well with your proposal. At least this gets a dialogue started, rather than everybody just opposing anything that would address the budgetary situation.
Cal Junkie
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I had to go with the original illustrations provided. As this proposal developed, it began to make more sense to recommend development on the east side.
socaliganbear
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I hope they tear down the whole thing and develop the entirety of it. Beyond housing, this plot of land is the single greatest opportunity to transform the campus. Yes, it is currently the gateway to campus. A terrible one. If we can not accommodate these programs elsewhere, we should work towards eliminating as many of them as possible.

Priorities should be building up football, and developing as much land as possible for university wide use. At most, I hope they incorporate some of the architectural elements of the stadium in the new project.

If Baseball isn't cut, they should strongly consider moving them off campus anyway. They should partner with a either Berkeley or Albany and build a replacement that is multi-use, and with community benefits. Having baseball off campus is already common place in conference.

Realistically, we currently don't have enough class,office, lab, housing for the student population we currently have. In the coming decade plus, we're going to increase enrollment to ~50k. We need to think big. Adding apartments around the edges is very small.

This land, along with Evans, could transform the university for the next 150 years.
71Bear
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socaliganbear said:

I hope they tear down the whole thing and develop the entirety of it. Beyond housing, this plot of land is the single greatest opportunity to transform the campus. Yes, it is currently the gateway to campus. A terrible one. If we can not accommodate these programs elsewhere, we should work towards eliminating as many of them as possible.

Priorities should be building up football, and developing as much land as possible for university wide use. At most, I hope they incorporate some of the architectural elements of the stadium in the new project.
I agree. I would like to see the university demolish Edwards and Evans. This would provide the campus with space for much needed housing and other academically-oriented facilities. This would also be a nice segue into eliminating the T&F and baseball programs.

The emphasis should be on revenue producing sports.
MilleniaBear
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Based on 30 years of civil engineering I can tell you that "preserving" and "renovating" are two words that seldom are used for improving things in a cost effective manner. Edwards might be a fine structure but salvaging it in any manner is going to make a bad economic situation worse. I'm not a fan of putting student housing there but something must be done there to generate revenue.
Jeff82
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I would agree that aesthetically, it doesn't do much for the campus, since what you basically see on Bancroft and Oxford are blank walls. Really, the best view of Edwards, if you're not in the stadium, is from the stairways at Haas Pavilion that look west, across the baseball field and the track stadium to the bay.
Cal Junkie
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Welp. Some pretty cold comments here. It's a worthwhile compromise and the engineers I know believe it is attainable. The university went almost a half-billion into the hole for the retrofit so that puts the onus on many.

It is also vital to have a track facility for many teams and activities so removing it from campus would be a great loss. I vehemently disagree with tearing down Edwards and don't think it will go over smoothly as a historic landmark named after a military hero...but thanks for the feedback.
Jeff82
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Cal Junkie said:

Welp. Some pretty cold comments here. It's a worthwhile compromise and the engineers I know believe it is attainable. The university went almost a half-billion into the hole for the retrofit so that puts the onus on many.

It is also vital to have a track facility for many teams and activities so removing it from campus would be a great loss. I vehemently disagree with tearing down Edwards and don't think it will go over smoothly as a historic landmark named after a military hero...but thanks for the feedback.
Sad to say, the athletic department appears to many to be a zero-sum situation at this point. The truth is that Tom Bates is probably your friend in this situation. If the City of Berkeley opposes the tear-down on historical preservation grounds, traffic, etc., your proposal might end up being the fallback to do something.
Cal Junkie
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Tom Bates. Ugh. I'll avoid him.
socaliganbear
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Tom Bates is gone. And if the proposal here is for housing, the city would much rather have housing on campus than off. Especially with some of the other large lot alternatives i.e. PP and the Oxford Tract, both of which are in for a fight.
joe amos yaks
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I would agree that something needs to be done with the Bancroft corridor west of Tele' to Shattuck. It is an urban design abortion, an automobile killing zone preserved in a sea of asphalt.

Consider restoring some traffic circulation north of Edwards (along Schlessinger Way) south of Strawberry Creek) between Sather Gate/Tele and Fulton . . . perhaps through Spieker Plaza. And there are a lot of things happening downtown.

Regarding either the redevelopment proposals or the "slash and burn" scenarios: If you want to add space there is underdeveloped land southside of Bancroft, northside of Durant, east from Shattuck/Fulton and west of the new health center / swim complex.

Looking ahead: Any scenario which proposes curtailing non-revenue sports might include Haas Pavilion in a "slash and burn" alternative . . and Spieker and the Rec Complex.
socaliganbear
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The Rec facility space will likely be expanded in some form in the coming years. We're already way under our rec space Sq ft/student ratio for most universities our size, and we're adding thousands more students.

This could mean a couple things, expanded RSF in the Edwards redevelopment. Or building something off site on PP if/when that gets developed. Or both.
ColoradoBear
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CJ, I appreciate the effort and sentiment here, but sadly I think this proposal is not grounded in reality and makes way to many assertions and contains a lot of rhetoric that are simply not going to hold up.

Without getting too long winded, looking at google earth and using their ruler to measure the dimensions, the east and west stands each comprise about 30k sq ft of space, while the entire edwards field site is around 270k sq feet. By limiting the development to ONE set of stands, the university is getting about 1/9 of the site to develop, while ~ 8/9 remains undeveloped. I feel that the trade of X land for Y dollars off the stadium debt is somewhat arbitrary, but I don't see there is a great value to the University to make such a great compromise. It's a compromise where T&F and the athletic department actually aren't giving anything of substance up (since the stands are not used productively anyways), certainly nothing worth the $$'s being tossed around.

I'm not going to insult you and downplay what track and field means to the university and community, but just sticking to the dollars, it's a huge uphill battle which I am sure you know. Outside of being able to self fund an endowment to fund yearly operations of T&F and to pay for renovations to edwards, T&F is certainly in a bad spot. (As are other sports).

I can't say whether the CKC site is sufficient, and yes there is the haward fault, but as long as the stands do not straddle the fault, it would seem to be a good use of land to have a field and track there... because the university can legally build actual building at edwards, but not at CKC.

I would highly recommend against trying to pursue blocking edwards' demolition through historical preservation avenues or anything where the city will be challenging the the EIR - the reaction from UC would very likely cutting T&F, and whatever else is necessarily on the men's side to meet strict proportionality in regard to Title IX because the money gap in the AD is huge. While community benefits are a nice spillover, the universities main reason for existence is education and research, so whether the east bay has track facility build for another era is not going to compel a lot of action.

The one wildcard is what happens to baseball and Evans, because that could be additional space. The real problem with Edwards (beyond the millions it will take to renovate), it that while historical, it's not a good use of space in terms of a entrance way to campus. There are complaints about there being a dead zone on Bancroft - which makes university not very inviting when approaching from the southwest. The aquatics center only exacerbated that. I would think the best use of the space would be to put in taller buildings with ground level storefronts and other buildings that make use of and enhance the pedestrian traffic along Bancroft and Fulton. It's a space that could be used by many thousands daily instead of hundreds on an irregular basis. If T&F/soccer could make the case that they could occupy the space where evans is (rotate the track 90 degrees), that could make some sense, but buildings on the street front of Bancroft must be a priority of any development, which requires the relocation of T&F/ Goldman field, and taking down the two grandstands.





Big C
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Cal Junkie, I know you are a track & field guy. I am something of a low-level track aficionado myself. When I was a little kid, I saw Steve Prefontaine run (indoors) at the Coliseum Arena here and the whole evening was really fun. I can't explain why the popularity of the sport has declined so much in the past 40-50 years. I could picture it, with the right marketing and promotion, enjoying a renaissance. I wish you well in your quest.

That said, I understand that the University might absorb a lot of the CMS debt in exchange for use of the land under Edwards. It might be our best shot at clearing up some of our financial mess. (That, plus a sustained winning football team and one or more super-rich benefactors.)

So, I'm torn on this. Good luck, though.

Go Bears!
Cal Junkie
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Very good point about the 1/9th available space of land use. I'll talk to some engineers about that. Your other comments are appreciated as well.
CaliforniaEternal
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If the track and field program can be kept, is there any chance to make an agreement with Laney College for use of their facility as a home base? It's an easy Bart ride from Berkeley and could be a reasonable option to keep a program running.

It would be great if Edwards could be saved but it's in such decrepit shape and the needed investment to bring it up to adequate condition is huge. Debt relief for CMS is a much higher priority long term.
Cal Junkie
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Colorado Bear would you mind emailing me at coachcarlrose AT gmail? I am having a pretty active discussion with two engineers with competing viewpoints and with your input it could yield something promising as well as point out caveats.
annarborbear
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Maybe there would be room at CKC for a multi-use building with an indoor track for training purposes like you see in bad climates in the Midwest. Lots of different groups can use those types of facilities 24/7. Actual meets could then be held off-campus at some other venue.
Chabbear
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While Laney has a track, it does not have any field event setups. In fact, it does not host any track meets and from what I hear has not hosted a meet in decades. Cal would have to go farther, to Chabot, DVC or maybe CCSF.
okaydo
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This thread has inspired me to start working on "My proposal for Saving People's Park" thread.


MarylandBear
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Interesting proposal but just a thought - Georgetown may not be the best example to cite - the multipurpose field that was built on their campus has a lot of critics, and did not include a track. Currently their runners share a DC public school track with HS and other joggers, it is just off campus that is only 330 yards long or so (non-regulation). That being said, that hasn't stopped their distance program from remaining among the elite college programs. Unfortunately they don't have much in the sprints and field events.
joe amos yaks
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Be patient. PP is 50-years old. In 50 more years it will qualify as an historic landmark based on its age.
GivemTheAxe
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There is currently a decrepit office building in the West side of Edward Field. Why can't that be torn down and have a new modern office building or dorm put up on that spot integrated into Edwards. Kill two birds with one stone.
IMO it makes little sense to remove a large playing field from the campus which has way too few places for intercollegiate and intermural athletics. Once Edwards is gone, no playing field of its size is ever coming back.
BTW I understand that there are restrictions on what Clark Kerr field can be used for which would probably prevent its use for intercollegiate track and field events.
NJCalFan
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It makes me sad to see the easy dismissal of track and field. I believe these XC and 400 and over runners are some of the most courageous, gritty athletes in the world. It is funny to see the television accolades for popular sports athletes and their "courage" when they play less then 30 seconds at a stretch. But these track/XC athletes sustain that hurt and fight for much, much longer.

The problem is that no one watches track and XC and it is unwatchable the way it is shown on television. For the sake of the future of track and field (not just at Cal), they need to come up with a way that viewers can see the steady accumulation of points and see the relative scores of teams pitted against one another and make it a product that can be marketed. American Ninja Warrior seems to be doing well with viewership and popularity. Somehow simulate the elements that make ANW exciting with these world-class, underappreciated XC/TF athletes. In addition to your thoughtful ideas for saving Edwards, I would use your same novel problem-solving skills and resources in the T/F community to enhance the entertainment value of track and XC.

I think it would be cool to build the dorms around the outskirts of the stadium. It might build enthusiasm for the sports played there and participation in these sports. And as you say, allows us to keep an athletics treasure.

For me, if Edwards goes, I am done supporting Cal Athletics.

But I would also offer that an audience of "football growls" is not a place where I would think you could expect much sympathy or enthusiasm for XC/TF. Recognize the hard words of the folks here represent the world of football fans (and pretty darn committed football fans if they would post and read on our treasured/tortured football program) but not the community at large.
HoopDreams
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i don't know about the economics, but I think it's great that people are studying options.

the general concept of his idea sounds pretty good to me if we are to retain Cal T&F. I actually think it could be a good improvement to the historic stadium because it is too large for today's needs. if you watch a T&F meet or soccer game, you feel like you're in a ghost town because it's just too big (with comparatively few fans).

I'd rather have a more compact stadium and stands that will be fuller and more intimate (although I've advocated downsizing the Memorial seating and Haas seating for similar reasons (better seats, but fewer of them)

Also, if I was living in a dorm or housing, it would be pretty cool to be over looking the stadium whether there was an event there or not.

Larno
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Ringing the stadium, or even having somewhat high-rise housing on either side of the track sounds interesting. They could plan it with enough room for bleachers for the track and soccer fans. However, would there be some sort of restriction on building student housing next to a field where javelins are being thrown? This proposal probably would not fly but given the circumstances, hey, you never know.
Cal Junkie
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Thank you NJCalFan.

I posted here because I did not want an echo chamber of affirmations but I was unpleasantly surprised at the level of vitriol in some of the responses. I've had my moments online so perhaps it's hypocritical of me.

I'm in contact with a prominent architect, we're taking another look at configurations and so forth.

Thanks again for the comments and I agree, a runner knows they are going to run their tails off in a cross country or longer track race. Few realize that a distance race, properly run, is a near-death experience.

I enjoy and support football-basketball and the Cal athletic department in general. But I am in agreement, if they total Edwards and entirely cut track, I'm out like the Fly Girls.

PS: I do not know exactly what to do to make track "more interesting." I do realize that when I watched a dual meet on TV there was exactly four and 12 seconds minutes of meet coverage in a half-hour and the rest was ZZZzzz personal profiles and endless rows of commercials. Also, the announcers are fairly weak. Listen to Steve Ovett call the men's 10000 at the London Olympic Games in 2012, and compare it to the bland sauce of US announcers who often can't get names right and seem to lack historic perspectives and depth. A good announcer needs to be an excellent storyteller to compel the audience to tune in. Otherwise they'll just zone out. We lack good storytellers on TV for track at least...
OaktownBear
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Cal Junkie said:

Thank you NJCalFan.

I posted here because I did not want an echo chamber of affirmations but I was unpleasantly surprised at the level of vitriol in some of the responses. I've had my moments online so perhaps it's hypocritical of me.

I'm in contact with a prominent architect, we're taking another look at configurations and so forth.

Thanks again for the comments and I agree, a runner knows they are going to run their tails off in a cross country or longer track race. Few realize that a distance race, properly run, is a near-death experience.

I enjoy and support football-basketball and the Cal athletic department in general. But I am in agreement, if they total Edwards and entirely cut track, I'm out like the Fly Girls.

PS: I do not know exactly what to do to make track "more interesting." I do realize that when I watched a dual meet on TV there was exactly four and 12 seconds minutes of meet coverage in a half-hour and the rest was ZZZzzz personal profiles and endless rows of commercials. Also, the announcers are fairly weak. Listen to Steve Ovett call the men's 10000 at the London Olympic Games in 2012, and compare it to the bland sauce of US announcers who often can't get names right and seem to lack historic perspectives and depth. A good announcer needs to be an excellent storyteller to compel the audience to tune in. Otherwise they'll just zone out. We lack good storytellers on TV for track at least...
CalJunkie:
I very much appreciate your support of Cal and Cal track. I deliberately did not come in and pick apart your proposal, though I think it would honestly be easy to do. If I could do magic and create a world where Edwards gets to stay and the track and field is vibrant and healthy at Cal, I would do it. It is not with joy or even indifference, but with a heavy heart that I just don't see any way to keep Edwards long term. Honestly, I fear track and field at Cal may turn out to not be viable. I hope I'm wrong on the latter.
The flaw in your proposal is you have set out to make an argument for saving Edwards, so your proposal comes from the premise, "what is the best solution that includes saving Edwards?" But the question on the table is "what is the best solution for the university?" And you just haven't argued it. Your comment on the gateway to the west campus is telling. Fact is, there isn't a great gateway on the west, and the campus that is fully integrated into southside, and decently integrated to a largely residential area on northside, has little integration to downtown Berkeley. And a lot of that is due to a giant barrier that is put up by Edwards. There is no campus activity going on down on the west end because there is nothing that draws anyone there. On this one point, the land that Edwards sits on could be a huge boon to the campus community and open up the west side. I think your point there is unrealistic and would just never be made by a neutral party.

I think you need to ask yourself, if you didn't love track so much, what would you do? What is the value to the university of Edwards vs. the value that could be unlocked without Edwards. Forget about valuing it at the debt forgiveness to the athletic department. What is the value to the university. It is your failure in that question that is leading to the response by those that simply don't have an interest in track. (though I wish we could all be sensitive to those that do).

Honestly, the vast majority of the campus gets absolutely zero benefit from Edwards. I'd say on the order of 99% or higher. I've literally never been inside. Saying this is not in any way to diminish how hard our track athletes work at their craft. The question is, can we continue to devote that value to their program. Maybe future athletes of their caliber are better off somewhere else. Maybe we can do right by them another way. I don't know the answer to that.

If Edwards was up in Strawberry Canyon away from the central campus, this probably wouldn't be an issue. But it is sitting on prime, central campus land, and that land is running out. It just can't be devoted to the exclusive use of a very small percentage of the campus community for a non-academic purpose. The problem can't be alleviated by taking out the stands. Maybe that could buy you a few years. But the bulk of the land is the track. You just can't avoid that.

I think Christ (or whoever) is making a shrewd play here. I think there are two facts that are politically inconvenient. Fact 1 Cal can't afford to devote the land to Edwards anymore. Fact 2 It is not fair or tenable for Cal to force the athletic department to pay for seismic retrofit of Memorial. I think that Cal is going to tear down Edwards and Cal is going to forgive the debt. They would do both independently of each other because they are the only practical solutions. However, there are people that will scream bloody murder over each action. But by portraying this as a "deal" between university and athletic department rather than two independent acts, it dramatically quiets a lot of the opposition.

Frankly, I think Evans is next. Give it a couple of years and I'd bet there is a deal for more debt forgiveness (if not wiping it all off the books). I don't see the long term viability of Evans either.

I don't know if there is viable land (whether Clark Kerr or on the waterfront or elsewhere) to build an adequate, non-spectator, track facility at a reasonable price. I hope there is. Or, if not, they need to look into another East Bay facility. But we've reached the point where large swaths of central campus land can no longer be devoted to a tiny fraction of students no matter how hardworking and deserving of our support they may be.

The thing is that I think if you remove your emotional attachment to Edwards and the track program from the equation, you will see that the value proposition of keeping Edwards is just not remotely close to there. There are a lot of emotional and feel good reasons to keep it that you can't put a price tag on. I get that. But I can put a price range on that value and it is much, much less than $100,000,000 and that is a very low ball estimate of the value tearing it down unlocks for the AD alone let alone the campus as a whole. And, I think just looking at the athletic department, the cost of keeping Edwards might be that it can't afford a track and field program (and a bunch of other programs) any more.

I hope, when you look at this, you will see there is just no other reasonable decision and rather than being upset with Cal for doing what it simply has to do, you will get together with your buddies and toast the old girl and remember the history that she witnessed. I fully understand if it is an act that emotionally you cannot forgive, and that is your right. But I hope your head overrides that emotion and the other things that connect you to Cal are enough to keep you with us. All things come to an end. Stadiums get torn down. Candlestick was built to house one of the first major league baseball teams on the west coast and did so for 40 years. It saw over 40 years of 49er football and the rise of a dynasty. It saw the last concert of the Beatles. It is gone. The Oakland Coliseum complex has seen 4 world series championships, 3 NBA championships, and two Superbowl championship teams. It will likely be gone (or completely replaced) in 10 years or so. Tearing down Edwards does not tear down the history of Cal track any more than tearing down Candlestick or the Coliseum tears down the history of the sports teams that played there.
Cal Junkie
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This is a constructive analysis. However a viable athletic track is essential at a Pac 12 school and not just for track & field. Athletic teams require this for training purposes, and frankly I think it's helpful to have a track & field team available to help recruit hyper-fast football players who want to keep in shape as two-sport athletes in a non-contact sport with supreme conditioning aka in track. Numerous Cal football players have competed for the track team, some of who were state champions in high school. That is a selling point to recruitment of the speedsters (RB, WR, DB) and frankly speed kills (slow teams).




OaktownBear
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Cal Junkie said:

This is a constructive analysis. However a viable athletic track is essential at a Pac 12 school and not just for track & field. Athletic teams require this for training purposes, and frankly I think it's helpful to have a track & field team available to help recruit hyper-fast football players who want to keep in shape as two-sport athletes in a non-contact sport with supreme conditioning aka in track. Numerous Cal football players have competed for the track team, some of who were state champions in high school. That is a selling point to recruitment of the speedsters (RB, WR, DB) and frankly speed kills (slow teams).





Problem is, CJ, the other side of the scale is $150M - $200M direct benefit to the athletic department. (and an adequate track for training purposes could be put at Clark Kerr - probably more convenient for most sports, and the economic benefit of maybe an occasional football recruit doesn't add up). I feel for you, but when those are the dollar amounts on the other side of the equation, you are just totally screwed.
Golden One
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OaktownBear said:

Cal Junkie said:

This is a constructive analysis. However a viable athletic track is essential at a Pac 12 school and not just for track & field. Athletic teams require this for training purposes, and frankly I think it's helpful to have a track & field team available to help recruit hyper-fast football players who want to keep in shape as two-sport athletes in a non-contact sport with supreme conditioning aka in track. Numerous Cal football players have competed for the track team, some of who were state champions in high school. That is a selling point to recruitment of the speedsters (RB, WR, DB) and frankly speed kills (slow teams).





Problem is, CJ, the other side of the scale is $150M - $200M direct benefit to the athletic department. (and an adequate track for training purposes could be put at Clark Kerr - probably more convenient for most sports, and the economic benefit of maybe an occasional football recruit doesn't add up). I feel for you, but when those are the dollar amounts on the other side of the equation, you are just totally screwed.
Yes, unfortunately for the history buffs and track and field fans among us, Edwards Field is about to see the demolition crew. There doesn't seem to be any reasonable alternative, given the financial realities of the Athletic Department and the space needs of the campus. The current location of Edwards is prime campus real estate and other needs for the space will take priority over sports that don't have widespread appeal across the campus community.
tequila4kapp
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Put me down for "I couldn't care less about T&F or Edwards. Tear it down immediately so we can save money, put the land to better use and start shrinking the footprint of our AD." Same goes for Baseball, though I love that sport and think back fondly to the sunny afternoons on campus watching Jeff Kent and others who ended up in the MLB playing for our Bears. If Cal athletics is going to survive it has to change. Sometimes that means getting rid of things that don't generate revenue and have small fan bases.
Cal Junkie
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Well turnabout is fair play. Perhaps we should install a high-end track inside of Memorial Stadium surrounding the football field. This would free up Edwards stadium and also be a nice concession from the football program. In addition you would have an NCAA and IAAF-approved stadium ready-made.

Sheesh, some people.
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