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October 13, 2009

Lumberjack Stadium to Get Total Makeover

Watch the Demolition Via Webcam

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Lumberjack Stadium is being torn down, but like a phoenix, it will rise again. Originally built in 1961, it is going away to make way for a newer Lumberjack Stadium that will seat 1,000 sports fans comfortably and serve as an integral part of the new Health and Learning Center.

The new stadium will have more room for concessions and include a new press box and space for athletic teams and public facilities. The rebuilt stadium will house facilities for women’s soccer and golf and men’s and women’s tennis, including locker rooms, training facilities, meeting rooms and offices.

The stadium upgrade will include replacing the track turf, and lighting around the Max Spilsbury Field will be Dark Skies compliant. The stadium will be an integral part of the new Health and Learning Center. Both are slated to open in August 2011.

Original Lumberjack Stadium dedication plaques will be put on display in the athletics area lobby of the new facility.

Construction crews began razing Lumberjack Stadium on Tuesday as part of a project that will create about 2,500 jobs and generate more than $7.3 million in city and state tax revenue.

Northern Arizona University’s Health and Learning Center, funded in large part through student-approved fees, will add more than $51 million in labor wages to the state’s economy during the 21 months of construction. The 270,000-square-foot facility is expected to open in August 2011.

The university is planning a groundbreaking ceremony for the project on Oct. 22, when alumni return to campus for Homecoming activities that week.

“Construction is one of those areas that can help boost a sagging economy,” said NAU President John Haeger, who is an expert on economic change in America. “I’ve said before that you can’t just cut your way out of a recession. By investing in jobs that will bring positive change to campus, we are helping our students while also benefitting our local and Arizona workforce.”

The Health and Learning Center will replace the 40-year-old Fronske Health Center, renovate and expand the 20-year-old Recreation Center and replace the 49-year-old stadium. It will include two floors of much-needed classrooms and an integrated service center providing physical health, mental health, recreation, intercollegiate athletic facilities, a café and social gathering space.

The $106 million project also encompasses the recently opened recreation fields, volleyball courts and facilities on south campus. As with the fields project, the Health and Learning Center will be built to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards of the U.S. Green Building Council.