State, university eye historic status of grandstand

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The University of Oregon and a state agency are eyeing the historic status of a 93-year-old structure the university plans to demolish.

The university is set to knock down Hayward Field's East Grandstand to make way for a new track and field stadium.

Paul Weinhold, director of PHIT LLC, which is managing the Hayward Field rebuild, said the grandstand is not eligible for the historic landmark listing because the structure has undergone major alterations through the years.

But the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office said the structure "retains sufficient historic integrity to be considered eligible for listing despite these modifications," The Register-Guard reported .

The university now can attempt to prove the state office incorrect or agree that the grandstand is likely a historic structure.

University spokesman Tobin Klinger said Monday the university appreciated the state office's opinion and continues to study the matter.

"We are committed to honoring, celebrating and commemorating the history of Hayward Field throughout the new venue," Klinger said.

If the university agrees with the state office, it would work with the agency on a formal agreement to minimize the loss of the grandstand's history.

The state office would recommend ways to preserve and share the grandstand's history in photos, said Ian Johnson, associate deputy state historic preservation officer.

"We say try to find something that is meaningful for the institution, something meaningful for the public and involve people," Johnson said. "It can be very wide open."

The state office recommends that any public agency finalize an agreement before moving forward with a construction project involving a historic building, Johnson said. However, the agency can't force the university to do so.

Meanwhile, city officials were reviewing the university's request for a permit to demolish Hayward Field, including the grandstand. The city requested more information from PHIT LLC on Friday, said Charlotte Curtis, a city permit coordinator.

A contractor has scheduled July and August as the time for the demolition of Hayward Field using bulldozers, according to the demolition permit application.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com

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