Cal’s New Digs
Venue Redo: Memorial Stadium
Photo courtesy of Cal Athletics
Built before the Bay Bridge existed and the NFL was founded, UC Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium was one of the few things that hadn’t changed since its 1923 opening. Now, after almost 90 years, the stadium has had a $321 million face-lift, with the big reveal scheduled for the Golden Bears’ first home game on September 1. Here’s what to expect.
The original facade was restored and stained for an antique look. The size of the field, shape of the bowl, placement of the scoreboard, and look of the flagpoles are all the same. “We aimed to keep the heart and soul of the building,” says Bob Milano Jr., assistant athletic director.
Plaza and Concourse:
The parking lot by the front entrance has morphed into an open plaza to maximize space and ease congestion, with widened entryways into the stadium. Expanded 35-foot walkways and large archways on the outer wall give the formerly dark and crowded concourse an open feel. Entries to the seating areas are three times wider, and align with the arches for views of campus, the Bay Bridge, and San Francisco.
Completely rebuilt concessions line the inside of the concourse, with new facilities for cooking food inside the stadium instead of off-site. The west side now has new, larger restrooms for the game day rush.
The field was lowered four feet to improve visibility for the front rows, and the old benches were replaced with aluminum designed to mimic wood. Alumni and endowment seating includes 3,000 premium seats between the 30-yard lines, and 500 seats at the top level of the press box, which has panoramic views of the Bay.
The athletics department plans to use the stadium 365 days a year, not just for game nights. Possible additions include a classroom, team store, computer lab, auditorium, and student café.