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Courtesy art

Crews to transform Fouts Field

Profile image for By Jenna Duncan / Staff Writer
By Jenna Duncan / Staff Writer

Old game film, trophies and even dated football equipment have been removed from the east concourse of Fouts Field over the past few months as part of preparations for the partial demolition of the stadium.

On June 17, crews with Intercon Demolition of Dallas will begin transforming the University of North Texas’ old football stadium into a site for track and field only, said Don Lynch, director of the UNT System Facilities Administration.

Crews will remove both end zone sections of aluminum bleachers and demolish the east concourse, which is on the visitors’ side of the field.

“We expect it to go pretty smoothly,” Lynch said. “We’ve gone through and done all our prep areas, and anything that the athletics department or university wanted to keep, that was pulled out. ... We just don’t need all those bleachers and seats. The track we need; the field we need. We just don’t need all of those seats.”

UNT athletics personnel have removed all equipment and other notable items from the east concourse, which served as a storage and meeting space for the department, said Eric Capper, senior associate director of athletics.

“Anybody who had anything in there has walked through a few times and made sure everything they need for historical purposes is out of there,” Capper said. “The scope of this project doesn’t really affect athletics that much.”

The project is expected to be completed by Aug. 26, and the facility will reopen with the remaining west concourse, field and track intact. Turf will be installed where the bleachers and east concourse once stood.

In a presentation to UNT regents last month, James Maguire, vice chancellor for administration and interim vice chancellor for finance, said the university will use Fouts Field for up to five more years, until a new track and field facility can be constructed. Lynch said planning for that project has not begun, but when it is completed the rest of the stadium will be demolished.

“At some point in the future — I do not know how long that will be — the university would like to build a new track stadium, and at that point we will demolish the rest of Fouts Field. But that will be several years down the road,” he said.

The demolition costs were included in the budget for building Apogee Stadium, and will be roughly $150,000, Lynch said. Costs for demolition projects tend to be on the lower end because the contracted companies can recycle the materials they are removing, he said.

“It’s common in demolition — you competitively bid and walk through with potential bidders and they’re looking, ‘OK, I can salvage that and it will get me ‘x’ amount of dollars,’” Lynch said.

The university also will try to salvage and reuse portions of the stadium. In the concrete at the top of the east concourse are cast stone panels depicting people playing sports, roughly 25 square feet and about four inches thick. If they can be removed without being damaged, they will be incorporated into a pedestrian bridge renovation, Lynch said.

“The original stadium was built in the 1950s, and it’s one of those elements of that architecture that we’re trying to save,” he said.

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.