THE FLORIDA CITRUS BOWL
Since opening in 1936 as a Works Progress Administration project by President Franklin D. Roosevelt at a cost of $115,000, the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium has undergone numerous expansions and name changes over the years. Now the stadium is undergo ing major demolition and reconstruction which will allow it to draw new high-profile events like neutral-site college football games, NFL pre-season match-ups and concerts. This $207 million project will not interfere with the Florida Citrus Bowl's signature annual events including the Capital One Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl, the Florida Classic and Monster Jam.
Stadium demolition started at the end of January following Monster Jam and the project should be 95% complete by mid-November 2014. Upon completion more than 80% of the stadium will be new construction.
Among the all-new features are:
• Vibrant open-air facade
• wide 360-degree main concourses
• lower bowl seating with six more inches of leg room
• unique club experiences with over 6,000 seats
• 10,000-square-foot party deck
• 1,000 suite seats & 20 midfield loge boxes
• multiple video displays
• innovative concession options
The accelerated construction timeline:
• November 2013 - pre-construction mobilization begins
• January 2014 - demolition of lower tow seating levels begins
• November 2014 - 95% completion and Florida Classic takes place
• April 2015 - targeted final completion of construction
Field Turf Installation
The City of Orlando and Florida Citrus Sports officials have selected AstroTurf® as the provider of the new playing surface at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. The selection took place following a detailed consultation with Stantec, one of the world’s premier turf management and design firms. Installation will began immediately and on September 5th the MEAC/SWAC Challenge between Southern and Delaware State was the first game played on the new turf.
“This new AstroTurf® field is part of the City of Orlando’s $10 million investment in phase one improvements this year at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium,” said Orlando Venues Executive Director Allen Johnson. “These renovations will help the stadium remain competitive and allow us to sustain economic, educational and cultural opportunities for our residents and visitors.”
The first step in the process was employing the expertise of Stantec, a design firm that has aided in the design of field surfaces at sporting venues around the world, most notably the fast-track midseason effort to replace natural turf with synthetic at Gillette Stadium, home to the NFL’s New England Patriots. Stantec’s Patrick Maguire, a nationally-recognized expert in the design of athletics surfaces, helped oversee the selection process. “The Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium is one of our country’s historic sporting venues,” says Patrick Maguire, LEED AP, Stantec Principal and North American Sports Group Practice Leader. “We’re humbled to have been selected to help extend its versatility and begin to reinvigorate its reputation as a world-class stadium.”The product chosen for the field is called GameDay Grass 3D™, the latest and most-advanced product in the evolution of sports playing surfaces.
AstroTurf® has made an investment in furthering research on synthetic turf fields by partnering with the University of Tennessee to create The Center for Safer Athletic Fields. Additionally, in a study at Michigan State University funded by NFL Charities, an AstroTurf® product was determined to perform most like natural grass.
The field’s stable, multi-ply primary backing systems are covered with a heavy, environmentally-friendly BioCel™ coating for uniformity, consistency and precise performance across the entire field surface, ultimately producing a natural-looking synthetic surface. The BioCelTM system provides an additional environmental benefit, as it employs highly-refined coal fly ash (residues from coal burning) and bio-based polyols extracted from soybeans.
“We have been staging major events in the stadium for over 60 years where the athlete experience is of premium importance,” said Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan. “Hosting a large number of events in short time windows have challenged the ability to provide optimum field conditions and paint schemes needed for national television. With this improvement, we are very excited about our ability to provide one of the safest, most technologically-advanced playing surfaces in the industry to our customers.”
Another benefit of the field will be water conservation. A typical, well-maintained grass field can use anywhere from 500,000 to 1 million gallons of water per year. The AstroTurf field eliminates that need, as well as those for pesticides and other chemicals. Environmental and cost benefits will work in concert with the functionality of the field as the surface will also employ AstroTurf’s astroflect™ technology, a feature which dramatically reduces the field’s surface temperatures.
See your new Citrus Bowl take shape here: