Hearings Set for Harmon Gym, Edwards Stadium Revamps

The first public hearing on the draft environmental impact report on the proposed expansion of Harmon Gymnasium and the renovation of the Edwards Stadium field will be held May 6 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the gym.

A second hearing will be held May 30 at the same time and place.

In examining the projects, the report identifies several "significant unavoidable impacts," particularly traffic and parking during peak use of the facilities.

Change to the gym's historic structure is another area noted, as are air quality, noise and traffic impacts during construction.

To mitigate, but not completely eliminate traffic and parking problems, the campus proposes several actions, according to the 2-inch thick report prepared by the campus's Office of Planning, Design and Construction.

For the 15 or so men's basketball home games each year, some of the mitigations include offering ticket packages with public transit passes, and coupons for discounts to local businesses and restaurants to encourage fans to arrive early.

Another proposals to ease congestion created at large pavilion track events is to use traffic control officers at key points to direct traffic flow and to ensure neighborhood residents can reach their homes during peak traffic periods.

The report also notes that several new parking lots could be opened to spectators and increased shuttle services offered from distant lots.

In its proposal to renovate and upgrade the two sports complexes, two distinct but complementary projects are proposed for the southwest portion of the campus.

The gym has recently been renamed the Haas Pavilion, but to avoid confusion the report refers to the existing facility as Harmon Gymnasium and uses the new name for the proposed expanded facility.

The pavilion project would create a sports arena out of the 1930s-era gym. This would increase seating from 6,587 to about 12,000, adding 30 new concession stands, building a team store, improving restrooms and making life safety improvements, including bringing the earthquake safety rating up to good.

An 8,000 square-foot "spectator club" overlooking both the arena and Evans baseball field is proposed to host banquets, conferences and other events.

The new, curved roof would increase the height by six feet to 37 feet, the east and west exteriors would expand 14 feet from the current walls and new exterior stairways would be added.

In creating the Haas Pavilion, Dana Court on the east side of the building would remain the main entrance with a new lobby area inside, a ticket office outside and new exterior columns for structural support.

The track plan calls for reconfiguring the field to accommodate both track and field and intercollegiate soccer. New lighting would go in for evening recreational uses and occasional community events, according to the report.

In addition to potential environmental impacts, the report outlines likely areas of controversy based on comments the university has already received on the project.

These include increased traffic on residential streets, litter and crime, potential loss of tax revenue from increased concessions at the pavilion as well as potential for economic benefit to surrounding businesses.

Other issues that have arisen revolve around prioritizing ticket sales and the location of student seating.

The report is available for review at the Planning, Design and Construction office, 300 A&E Building, room 1, and the library at the College of Environmental Design, 210 Wurster.


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