TVA Architects Readies Hayward For Trials

Portland, Oregon -- The countdown to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials-Track and Field has begun. With last weekend's Prefontaine Classic, world-class athletes and sports aficionados from around the country have begun to descend on Eugene, Oregon in anticipation of the largest national championship track meet in the world.

During the 10-day Trials, taking place June 27 through July 6, Track Town USA will host more than 1,000 athletes competing for the right to represent Team USA at the Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

At center stage is Hayward Field, the University of Oregon's hallowed track and field venue, newly renovated by TVA Architects Inc. The Portland-based firm was selected by the University to lead a major upgrade of the historic venue in preparation for its return to the world stage during the U.S. Track and Field Trials.

A well-known landmark on the UO campus, Hayward Field is widely recognized as a sports mecca, a historic icon with deep emotional ties to the University and running community. It is here that acclaimed track star Steve Prefontaine rose to fame in the 1970s under the direction of legendary coach Bill Bowerman, and where Bowerman's fledgling running shoe business with Phil Knight had its inspired beginnings for Nike, Inc. And it is here that living track legends, such as Alberto Salazar, will return this month to cheer on the next generation of sports greats as they strive towards the gold.

TVA Architects' work on Hayward Field was designed to preserve elements of the revered venue's celebrated past, while upgrading the facility for the 21st century and enhancing the event experience for athletes and spectators alike. Renovations include a completely resurfaced track, resulting in a Class I Track Certificate awarded by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Almost as a pre-Trials affirmation of the facility's performance, numerous meet records fell at the Prefontaine Classic – notably, world record holder and Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele ran the fastest 10,000 meters ever run in the United States, while defending world champion Brad Walker established an American record in the pole vault.

The field events layout has also been altered. The previous infield consisted of a crowned field which obstructed views as the athletes moved around the track. The new infield is a level, sand-based surface that allows view of full movement of the athletes by spectators, coaches and competitors. In addition, to preserve Hayward Field's grassy infield – a unique feature atypical for venues of this type – and to accommodate simultaneous events within the infield, grass has been used to align and define each event area. With this delineation, the infield will host concurrent activities, such as pole vault, high, long and triple jumps, as well as discus and javelin.

Infrastructure upgrades include new "green" energy-efficient stadium lighting and a state-of-the-art video scoreboard, powered by a new electrical transformer. Light poles have been strategically placed to avoid obstructing spectator views, while a new distributed sound system replaces the old cluster system, providing improved quality and uniform sound distribution throughout the stadium. In addition, improved surface drainage will quickly wick rainwater from the track and field. Finally, as the high-profile Olympic Track and Field Trials is expected to swell attendance significantly, temporary seating will expand the facility's capacity from 9,000 to close to 15,500 spectators.

TVA Architects collaborated with Kansas City-based Ellerbe Becket Architects and renowned track and field expert Don Paige on the project. The TVA design team includes design principal Robert L. Thompson, FAIA, project manager Robert Curry, AIA, LEED AP, and design assistants Staci Beck and Michael Hahn. McKenzie Commercial Contractors is the general contractor, Balzhiser & Hubbard Engineers is responsible for civil engineering and electrical, and Larry Gilbert of CMGS is the landscape architect.

TVA ARCHITECTS INC. is a nationally recognized architectural, planning and interiors firm based in Portland, Oregon. Established in 1984, the company has a rich history of providing innovative architecture and comprehensive planning services to a wide variety of commissions throughout the United States and in China. Current projects include co-designing the new 12,500-seat University of Oregon Arena, slated to replace McArthur Court, the oldest on-campus basketball arena in use in the United States, and the Park Avenue West Tower, a mixed-use high rise in downtown Portland, slated to be the third tallest building in Oregon. Recent work includes the newly-completed, 31-story John Ross Condominium Tower in Portland's South Waterfront, and design of the state-of-the-art Laika Animation Campus to be located in Tualatin, Oregon. The firm has received over 50 design awards, including International Campus of the Year for the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, and a national GSA Design Honor Award for Sustainability/Adaptive Reuse for the Social Security Administration Teleservice Center in Auburn, Washington. TVA Architects is led by founder and design principal Robert L. Thompson, FAIA, and principals Marc A. Labadie, LEED AP, John Heili, AIA, LEED AP, Monty Hill, AIA, RJ Johnson AIA, LEED AP, and Roderick Ashley, AIA.

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