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Steigerwald: Another Article About an On-Campus Stadium

Pitt Stadium from Cardiac Hill By Crazypaco at English Wikipedia | CC BY 2.5

Steigerwald: Another Article About an On-Campus Stadium

Suggest to someone that Pitt needs to build a football stadium on campus and you’ll probably be dismissed as a dreamer. Especially if that someone is in the local media.

That’s what I’ve found out over the last two weeks after writing a couple of columns on the subject.

Welcome to column number three on the subject.

Anthony DeFiore is a Pitt graduate, who also happens to have a Masters in city planning from NYU and has done zoning and development work in Philadelphia. He says it would be “easy” for Pitt to find the money and the space for a 40,000 seat stadium on campus.

When the idea is dismissed the number one reason is that there is nowhere to put a stadium. DeFiore has found a spot where he says it, “would fit like a glove” – on the OC lot, where people now park for basketball games at The Pete.

The cost? He says a “bare bones” 40,000-seat stadium could be built for $125 million and one with “every bell and whistle” would be about $200 million.

Where would that money come from?

DeFiore claims that a lot of wealthy people went to Pitt and it wouldn’t be hard to raise multi-millions from them and he says Pitt could pay for it by floating a Pitt municipal bond at around four percent.

No tax dollars needed.

There would also be millions of dollars available for the naming rights. He warns that the costs to build will go up fast and within five years they would probably be too high to make it work.

DeFiore has designed a stadium that he says would be one of the most intimidating places in the country for a visiting football team. It would also house the Pitt athletic offices, class rooms, lockers and training facilities and could be used for high school football games and concerts.

Have you heard of HOK? That’s the company that designed  stadiums, ball parks and arenas all over the country including, PNC Park, Heinz Field and  the arena for the Penguins now known as PPG Paints Arena.

It’s now known as Populous and was hired to do a study of Pitt’s athletic facilities.

According to a release put out by Pitt last June, Populous was retained to, “Devise a comprehensive athletics master plan to address both the short-term and long-term needs of the athletic department administrative units and varsity programs.”

Does it make sense to hire a company like HOK/Populous that is known world wide for building stadiums and arenas if you’re not going to make the feasibility of a football stadium part of the study?

According to a spokesperson at Populous, there is no plan to investigate the feasibility of or design for a football stadium

The embarrassing empty seats for Friday’s game at Heinz Field for the Pitt-Miami game are likely to get people debating the issue again.

Populous has an office in Pittsburgh, conveniently enough.

Scott Barnes was the Athletic Director when Populous was hired last year. Current AD Heather Lyke has the company’s phone number. How about adding a football stadium to the study, if for no other reason than to stop the debate by saying that world renowned experts on stadium feasibility have said there is no way to fit a football stadium on Pitt’s Oakland campus?

Former Pitt players like John Pelusi and Jimbo Covert, who have made lots of money outside of football, have been trying to convince Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher to make a serious attempt at putting football games back on campus.

They have told him that they could raise the money needed.

ESPN’s announcing crew has already made fun of all the yellow seats that they expect to see at Heinz Field for Friday’s game with Miami. Unless Lyke was able to find a tarp big enough to cover them all, they’re going to see plenty. That will mean that a nationally televised game on a day when lots of Americans will be watching football, instead of a being a huge recruiting tool, will be a major turnoff to recruits and their parents all over the country.

There’s a plan for a stadium out there and people willing to raise the money to pay for it. Pitt owes it to alumni everywhere to take it seriously or find someone with a better idea.

What’s becoming less debatable every day is that moving to Heinz Field was a bad idea.

It was.


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Kenna JAmes at Blush Night Club
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29 Comments on "Steigerwald: Another Article About an On-Campus Stadium"

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Beano
Guest

If it’s not to difficult to raise $200 million dollars for a football stadium, why does Pitt scream “poverty” when it comes to hiring or retaining coaches?

Mike
Guest

I love it, John. I also think it’s necessary for the program’s long-term survival.

Then only problem with that location though, is access and parking. How do you get 40,000 people up on top of that hill? And even more difficult – how do you get them all off the hill at the same time?

TD2
Guest

http://www.newpittstadium.com
The parking issue and multiple access routes to new stadium are all covered.

Noah
Guest

I’d recommend checking out this site as well Mike: https://jamessantelli.com/2014/10/22/parking-and-traffic-for-new-pitt-stadium-no-problem-part-iii/ it shows that there is already parking in place, it’ just how efficient they can be with it. Also, Pitt purchased the former Syrian mosque site in the past 2 years so that could be used as a possible parking garage.

Mike
Guest

Those are great ideas. I think the university could come up with inventive and “fun” ways to convey people up/down the hill. Maybe using dedicated trolley cars along dedicated lanes during game day. This could actually become a fun part of the game day experience. Please – no school buses…they are very depressing!

Chuck P
Guest
It would be nice, but it’s not going to happen for at last another 10-15 years or however long Heinz Field has left. Games on campus would be nice and yes they need a smaller field. But getting to and from games would be absolutely terrible, and once there where do people park? In the short term Pitt fans need top realize them not showing up is hurting recruiting(that goes for hoops too). Those 25k-35k empty seats they cry about is on them finding every b.s. reason not to show. Reasons like too far from campus, too big, not a… Read more »
Clark Martineau
Guest

I totally agree with your comments about fan support. I remember the late 60s and fans sitting on their hands and booing their own team. It made me mad.
There are going to be great teams coming to play Pitt. The ACC is definitely a step up for us. Narduzzi is going to find a way in the next few years. Come out and be part of it!

Justin
Guest

You must not be watching many games or you just have blind faith.

TD2
Guest

The Steeler and City Authority deal is 30 years. But early buyout and renegotiations are always possible!

Justin
Guest

Getting to and from games is terrible NOW. There’s this great thing called public transportation and Uber who would alleviate all of your fake issues. Speaking of Uber…I’m pretty sure they’re using that LTV site.

Chuck P
Guest
Fake issues of why people don’t show now, or getting into and out of Oakland? If it’s why people don’t come to games now those are not fake and get listed on every Pitt site. North side is is pain but No where near what Oakland is. Oakland at rush hour now is nothing but clogged one way side streets, imagine 45k people trying to get into Oakland and park or getting out after games. And I think there is still room to build at LTV steel because they are looking for companies and residential buildings down there. Plus uber… Read more »
Chuck P
Guest
I need to add that while yes the North Side is a pain at lest you have options to get in and out. Drive in and park at any of the lots there, park in Station Square and ride the T or Gateway Clipped over, park in town and walk over, or park in town and catch the T over and back for free. If you park next to the jail on Saturdays it’s free, catch the T at first ave, and it’s free there and back. Or pay $5 to park at the 1st ave garage, if you park… Read more »
Steve
Guest
Thanks for sticking with the idea. The City planners are jamming everything into the Northside location and before too long it will not be a pleasant place to visit because the congestion will be intolerable. Let’s return to the Pitt Campus and stay there. Heinz was an experiment and it failed. I chaired an Authority that built the Arena for the Baby Pens and it could be done at Pitt with vision, courage and creativity. I hope the Administration will at least give it an honest look. Heinz Field is not emotionally linked to the student body and the Alumni.… Read more »
Kevin
Guest

Winning solves EVERYTHING!!! Look at Pitt basketball. They had the chance to take it to the next level (top 10) and hire a home run coach but they went with a washed up bargin of a coach (still making millions). Money talks and even Sean Miller would have been interested if Pitt would have offered big time money. It would have cost more money in the short term, but would have paid millions over the next 10 plus years.

Mr. Jim
Guest

Miller in his own words said he is locked in to where he is now, with no plans to return to this area.

Justin
Guest

Sean Miller had zero interest and will never have interest unless he’s part of the scandal. Go home, you’re drunk sir.

Noah
Guest
Thank you for posting this, John. This is exactly what Pitt needs. I’ve grown up not knowing what it’s like to go to games in Oakland (although my dad and grandfather did) and because of that I didn’t think an on-campus stadium what that big of a deal. Boy, was I wrong. A road trip to the Iowa game in 2015 showed how important it is to the gameday atmosphere and experience. I think the actual design is a great one, as it’s really the only space left in Oakland. I know some people have proposed tearing down the sports… Read more »
Black-Man
Guest

40K?? Seems to me 45K would be minimum. Unless your 40K is expandable down the road. But NOW is the time to get on this idea – cheap money thanks to the fed won’t be around forever.

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Mr. Jim
Guest
With football programs paying for practically all other sports, a 40 thousand seat stadium, even if you sell out every game at 50. $$$$ per . Based on 7 home games per. season. Wouldn’t be long before other sports would have to be dropped. To be successful, football would have to carry the load , with a quality , winning program, meaning just about everything related to football budget would have to be increased , by a lot, people won’t pay to see us play Kaputy tech. Three times a season. Every expense will climb. A forty thousand seat stadium… Read more »
Mike
Guest

Disagree completely. Most of the money being made comes from the ACC and television contracts. Selling 5,000 more seats per game will not make/break the athletic department. Pitt will never average more than 50K in attendance…that has been proved – its an historical fact. And the trend on attending live sporting events is on the way down…millenials don’t buy-in to things like season tickets…they gravitate toward single events. The old models no longer work.

TD2
Guest

Before 1997, Pitt averaged above 50k. Check the old media guides. Winning will make 40-45k seats, Pitt a hot ticket.

TD2
Guest

Not true. ACC money annually hasn’t hurt BC or Wake Forest Olympic sports. Winning solves everthing.

Justin
Guest

Just
make
it
happen

Kyle
Guest

Municipal stadium bonds are illegal on January 1st. Does this guy really know what he is talking about? Doesn’t sound like it

Steve
Guest

Prepare a plan based on the the best urban design standards and a facility that is state of art showcasing the University’s technological prowess. A financing plan including a Pa Capital Budget allocation, an Alumni Fund Drive, Private corporate naming rights and donations and University contributions. The stadium doesn’t have to be paid up front. Revenue bonds without public guarantees could be floated and paid over 30 years. This is doable with a good plan. UPMC STADIUM is just an idea.

Steve
Guest

Traffic? Give me a break…you may not be old enough but remember Forbes Field, the home of the Pirates,and Pitt Stadium, the home of the Panthers and the Steelers, shared space in Oakland. Get to the Campus early and stay later and enjoy being there. Fine restaurants and bars and the feel of being at your former second home with the newest occupants. Let’s get some synergy between the students and Alumni. That’s what i miss at Heinz. Heinz is fine for the Steelers but not the Panthers.2zC8H

Chuck P
Guest

Back when Forbs Field was around there were also street cars to get people around, more people relied on mass transit, and not as many cars on the road. I’m sure for those days traffic was bad but it’s much worse now because there are no street cars going around up there, more people driving on streets that haven’t changed much from the 50s-60s, and fewer people taking mass transit.

Murph
Guest

They could do what Professor Wagstaff of Huxley College recommended and tear down the college. If they do build anything, for the sake of the tv crews that have to work there, make sure the I/O panels aren’t put in backwards.

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