HALLOWED GROUND - National Football 2010-07-29آ  HALLOWED GROUND uDedicated: Sept. 29, 1957, Green Bay

Embed Size (px)

Text of HALLOWED GROUND - National Football 2010-07-29آ  HALLOWED GROUND uDedicated: Sept. 29, 1957, Green...

  • 576

    boards — one each in the north and south end zones — measure 41 feet high and 162 feet wide. Both feature full-color LED video displays of 27 feet high by 48 feet wide, in addition to scoring, statistical and general infor- mation panels.

    The 32-month, $295 million redevelopment of Lambeau was completed on time — and on budget — with the Packers remaining in Green Bay to play all of their games throughout the process. Put into motion by a county-wide referendum that approved a half-cent sales tax increase

    on Sept. 12, 2000, the project was financed jointly by the city of Green Bay, county taxpayers, the

    Packers and the NFL. The Packers’ football facilities — a vital element in attracting players in

    today’s ultra-competitive NFL — also were enhanced greatly by the stadium’s redevelopment, debuting in time for the 2002 season. The centerpiece of these quarters is a breathtak- ing, 64-by-120 foot, football-

    shaped locker room with 64 stately wooden lockers. Another

    25 lockers can be found in an adjoining, auxiliary locker room, to

    be utilized during training camp. The new football facilities also fea-

    ture a much larger training room with all of the latest therapy pools as well as a permanent X-ray machine, a new weight room, individual position meeting rooms with theatre-style seating, a 150-plus-seat team auditorium, a basketball court with a parquet wood floor, a racquetball court, a team dining room and a players’ lounge.

    Not forgetting the Packers’ rich tradition and history at Lambeau Field, then-GM/ Head Coach Mike Sherman requested three slabs of con- crete that were located in the team’s former field tunnel at the north end — which were walked over by many of the greatest players in club histo- ry — to be moved to the new tunnel in the southeast cor- ner; the players began using it during the 2002 season. A nearby plaque recognizes the presence of the concrete from the old tunnel.

    In July 2002, all of the team’s administrative and football-operations offices also relocated to within the Lambeau Field Atrium on the stadium’s east side.

    Other benefits realized through the redevelopment project include a modern system of field lights that is more than eight times brighter than the previous stadium lights, and a new visiting team locker room. Also, a larger, more comfortable and modern press box that can seat in excess of 250 media members for a playoff game — and positioned along the sidelines — debuted in 2002. In 2003, the press box was renamed “The Lee Remmel Press Box” in honor of the former news-

    One of the National Football League’s most revered stadiums, Lambeau Field this year is hosting its 54th season of football.

    A year-round destination venue to be enjoyed by Packers fans in a variety of ways on an everyday basis, it underwent a dramatic facelift that added a host of new amenities and attractions. The conclusion of the redevel- opment project was marked by a rededication game, Sept. 7, 2003, against longtime divisional rival Minnesota.

    Featuring the only true “retro” look in the entire league, the glorious tradition and history of the Packers is carried forward in the “like-new” Lambeau Field with its heart — the original seat- ing bowl — saved. The same hal- lowed ground where many of the NFL’s greatest moments have transpired continues to exist, a canvas where current players can paint their own memories in future years.

    At the same time, the structure has been trans- formed from a football sta- dium that fans could use only 10 days during the season to a Packers cultural center that can be enjoyed throughout the year. Within the five-story Lambeau Field Atrium, located on the stadium’s east side, is the 25,000-square-foot Packers Hall of Fame, corpo- rate meeting and event facili- ties for 25 to 1,200 people, five different eating options highlighted by a one-of-a-kind brew pub (Curly’s Pub) with interactive areas, and a larger Packers Pro Shop (see page 585-587 for a full listing of the Atrium dining, entertainment and retail options).

    Just outside the Atrium in the Robert E. Harlan Plaza, named in honor of the former team CEO (1989-2007), are bronze statues of team found- er Curly Lambeau and leg- endary coach Vince Lombardi. Sculpted by Julie Rotblatt- Amrany (Lombardi) and Omri Amrany (Lambeau) of Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt-Amrany in Highland Park, Ill., at a cost of more than $400,000, each statue is 14 feet tall, atop three feet of steps and a four-foot base. Nearby the statues are several park benches — mak- ing the plaza area a great place to sit and soak up the majesty of Lambeau Field.

    On game days, fans benefit from many of the same 21st- century amenities typically found in the shiny but sterile, newer facilities that have sprouted up across the country in recent years — every- thing from wider concourses (including a new, upper con- course) to enhanced concession areas to modernized and increased restroom facilities (particularly for female fans), to a club level for suite and club seat patrons.

    Two new scoreboards also highlighted the project. Developed by Daktronics, Inc., of Brookings, S.D., the

    HALLOWED GROUND

    uDedicated: Sept. 29, 1957, Green Bay 21, Chicago Bears 17. uCapacity: 73,128 present 65,290 to 66,110 in 2002 60,890 in 2001 32,500 in 1957 (original seating) uOriginal name: “City Stadium” (new City Stadium) uOriginal Cost: $960,000 (paid off in 1978) uRenamed: Rededicated as Lambeau Field Sept. 11, 1965,

    following death of Curly Lambeau the previous June. uOwner: City of Green Bay and Green Bay/Brown County

    Professional Football Stadium District (operated/maintained by the team).

    uField: Installed in 2007, the top level of the field system is 12 inches of root-zone sand and Kentucky bluegrass turf. DD GrassMaster synthetic fibers are stitched into the surface, providing strength and stability to the field. Fibers extend approximately seven inches below the surface and are exposed approximately one inch above the surface and are spaced every three-quarters of an inch. Approximately 20 million individual stitches make up the process.

    uHeating system: Installed in 2007 and contains more than 30 miles of radiant heating pipe, which can maintain a root-zone temperature of 55-plus degrees to keep the ground from freezing during the season’s latter months. First system was put in by Vince Lombardi for 1967 season (failed during Ice Bowl).

    uLocation: 1265 Lombardi Ave., southwest Green Bay. uNFL Championship Games: Three (1961, 1965 and 1967). uPackers all-time record: Regular Season: 172-106-4 (.618) Postseason: 13-3-0 (.813) Overall: 185-109-4 (.628)

    Lambeau at a gLance

    C O

    M M

    U N

    IT Y

    C O

    A C

    H E

    S V

    E T

    E R

    A N

    S D

    R A

    FT &

    2 0

    0 9

    R E

    V IE

    W R

    E C

    O R

    D S

    & LA

    M B

    E A

    U M

    IS C

    . FR

    E E

    A G

    E N

    TS H

    IS TO

    R Y

    FI E

    LD A

    D M

    IN . &

    LAMBEAU FIELD

  • 577

    The block of new seats helped the Packers to remove almost 1,500 names from their season-ticket waiting list — which still has more than 83,000 names on it — between both ticket packages. Additionally, Brown County residents without season tickets have a chance to pur- chase the remaining 4,000 new bowl tickets on a game- by-game basis; in 2010, 10,000 residents were randomly selected from a list and were able to purchase four tickets. Disabled-accessible seats also increased dramatically through the development project, rising from 56 to 733.

    The main concourse — previously so narrow in some places that it had become a safety problem — also was expanded significantly. And, a new, upper concourse,

    paper sportswriter, Packers public relations director and team historian. Remmel retired in 2007 after more than 60 years of close association with the organization.

    Opened in 1957, Lambeau Field had seen numerous smaller-scale changes through the years, including seven prior seating expansions and the addition of suites. But, as new stadiums rose throughout the NFL in the 1990s, Lambeau Field became outdated. As a publicly owned team, the Packers must generate a significant amount of income from their home to remain competitive. Challenges with capacity, as well as the need for updated suites plus more club seats, restrooms and concessions, made rede- velopment a necessity.

    Faced with these challenges, the organization went to work in October 1999, assembling a plan to protect 80 years of Packers history and ensure the club’s continued viability. After several feasibility studies and overwhelm- ing support for renovation, as opposed to building a new stadium, the redevelopment plan was dubbed the proper course of action. Unveiled in January 2000, the plan ulti- mately won voter approval that September with the hard work of people committed to preserving pro sports’ most unique franchise.

    “Our fans overwhelmingly asked us to save Lambeau Field,” then-president and CEO Bob Harlan said. “This plan accomplishes that while giving the Packers an economic base to build for the future in Green Bay. We want this to be the No. 1 destination in Wisconsin. We’re going to build a stadium that the rest of the National Football League wished it had.”

    Inc