Grant Field Stadium

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The Grant Field Stadium


Grant Field stadium is the historic multi-purpose football stadium facility located at the corner of the Techwood Drive and North Avenue at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia. Grant Field has been the location of multiple noteworthy ceremonies and games which have shaped the history and tradition of the Georgia Institute Technology. It retained its title of Grant field from 1905 to 1988, but the building itself and actual grandstands were not built until 1913. The stadium retained its name in 1914 after a gift from John W. Grant. In gratitude for the gift, the Board of Trustees named the field Hugh Inman Grant Field in memory of Grant's deceased son.


Contents

Location

Grant Field Stadium with the city in the background

The stadium is conveniently located on the Georgia Institute of Technology's East Campus, just across from Brittain Dining Hall and an assortment of freshman housing and facilities including Cloudman, Brown and Towers Residence Halls. It is also a relatively close walk to freshmen hill, the campus library,and fraternity/sorority row. The facility is located in midtown Atlanta, just off Interstate 75/85, directly across from the well renowned Varsity fast-food restaurant. [1] The stadium overlooks parts of the downtown and midtown, with Atlanta skyline looming overhead during games. Each element provides a great view and atmosphere for the stadium. [2]







Architecture

Grant Field Stadium renovation

In 1905, a serious effort to improve the state of Grant Field began and shortly afterwards its formation picked up some momentum. Coach John Heisman solicited the help of 300 prison laborers from within the city of Atlanta to improve the field. The convicts worked to the clear rocks, remove tree stumps, and level out the field for play. Heisman, in fact, commissioned the state to provide prison laborers to actually dynamite and flatten the land [3]. Before the dynamiting, it was actually a fairly heavily wooded and quite rocky area [4]. Unfortunately, “the Flats”, as the field was to become known, was a poor location for the practicing of sports and the commencement of collegiate athletic competition. Georgia Tech students also helped pitch in on the improvement effort of the athletic field. Determined and filled with school pride, students were readily willing to give their own contributions to improve the state of the field.

Plans for grandstands were formed and designed by Lazarus Allen and Sid Mays and construction ensued by Tech students to appease the fans. Student labor also helped construct the wooden stands along the embankment that bordered the site in addition to a wood fence. In 1913, the original concrete West Stands were completed and seated 5,600. The concrete East Stands were completed in time for the 1924 season. A year later, the South Stands were finished, bringing the seating capacity to approximately 30,000. Growth of the stadium steadily increased through the years. In 1947, the West Stands were rebuilt, which raised the capacity to 40,000, and a new press box, then the largest in the South, was constructed. The all-steel North Stands were erected in 1958 to bring the seating to 44,105. Further expansion to the Grant Field Stadium also continued with the renovation and redesign of the West Stands which included the largest press box in the region. A second deck was added to the East side in 1962, increasing the stadium capacity to 53,300. The facility was expanded again in 1967, when the West Stands were double-decked to bring capacity to its high of 58,121. That project also included new press and photo levels, including an elevator. New scoreboards were added prior to the 1982 season. The addition of a second deck to the east and west stands and new north stands increased the field to a capacity of over 60,000 seats resulting in the largest audience ever to view a game at Grant Field being reported by the Athletic Association—a grand total of 60,316 at the 1973 Georgia game. In 1986 the south horseshoe was torn down, and replaced with the William Wardlaw Center. The Wardlaw Building houses the visiting team's locker room, among other facilities. Due to the horseshoe's removal, seating capacity of the stadium was then reduced to 46,000- the final renovation of the stadium with its "grant field" title. The surface at Grant Field hasn't always been grass. In 1971, Tech began playing on AstroTurf, replaced with an All-Pro surface in 1988. [5]

Other Renovations

  • 1913 John W. Grant - $15,000 towards west stands.
  • 1915 Grant and the Board of Trustees - additional stands. [6]
  • 1924-1925 Expansion from 5,600 to 30,000 seats.
  • 1958 All steel north stands brings capacity to 44,105.
  • 1962 Second deck east side. Capacity 53,300.
  • 1967 Second deck of West stands. Capacity 58,121. [7]
  • 1971 Grass replaced with AstroTurf.
  • 1982 New scoreboards.
  • 1986 Portion of stands demolished to create space for the Wardlaw Building. Capacity: 46,000.
  • 1988 All-Pro surface replaces AstroTurf.

Each of these renovations served as a momentous landmark for the progression and expansion of Grant Field Stadium. With many additions capacity was increased substantially, creating a excellent game day atmosphere in the process. Scores of fans could now pack the stands and cheer on the Yellow Jackets, giving the home team an advantage. The modernization of the field is observable as it rises from its humble rocky soil and dirt to a All-Pro surfaced AstroTurf with stands and expanded decks. Renovations really portrayed the progression of Grant field stadium into modern stadium architecture and design.

History

Grant Field Stadium Game


The stadium was originally named Hugh Inman Grant Field in 1914 after a gift from John W. Grant, a member of the Tech Board of Trustees and a well-known Atlanta merchant. Although the Grant family did not give the land on which Grant Field is built, they did give the initial $15,000 used in 1913 to build the first permanent concrete stands on the west side of the field. In gratitude for the gift, the Board of Trustees named the field Hugh Inman Grant Field in memory of Grant's deceased son. The land itself was obtained before the naming through a contract signed that year between the Georgia Tech Athletic Association and the E. C. Peters Land Company for a seven-year lease on a parcel of land for use as an athletic field. The lease made up a large portion of what is now the southern end of Grant Field. The terms for payment required a percentage of the gate receipts to be paid towards the E. C. Peters Land Company and this constituted the lease. [8]

Football began being played at Grant Field Stadium in 1905 and in 1913 the construction of actual grandstands began by members of the student body and a solicited group of prison laborers. Among the games played in this stadium were the Georgia Tech vs. Cumberland College in 1916 (most lopsided game in history)and the Georgia Tech- Georgia game of 1928. Hall of Fame coaches like John Heisman and Bobby Dodd have coached inside the stadium bringing National championships, Atlantic Coastal Conference (ACC) titles, and Southeastern Conference(SEC) victories. In addition to the athletic prowess displayed within the stadium, celebrities and politicians have delivered groundbreaking speeches and made appearances there. In 1932, Winston Churchill addressed the Georgia Tech students and faculty at Grant Field, stressing the importance of military preparedness. While later in 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Techwood housing project during Homecoming weekend. He would later even go on to address a capacity crowd at Grant Field and stay around to watch the football game. [9] The stadium undoubtedly brought a great mixture of historical success and tradition.

Learn More

View this video about Georgia Tech Traditions to see an example of Grant Field Stadium


Additional Images Links

References

  1. "Georgia Institute of Technology :: Campus Map." Georgia Tech Alumni Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Oct. 2010. <http://gtalumni.org/map/?id=17&navview=0>.
  2. "Bobby Dodd Stadium."Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Oct. 2010. <en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Dodd_Stadium_at_Historic_Grant_Field>.
  3. "blastingontheflats."imageshack. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2010. <img638.imageshack.us/img638/914
  4. "iieconvicts2." imageshack. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2010. <http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/8113/iieconvicts2.png>.
  5. Edwards, Pat . "Students build first stands at Grant Field." Technique [Atlanta] 3 Oct. 2010, sec. Campus Life: 1-2. Print.
  6. "Grant Field," in Georgia Tech Archives Digital Collections, Item #1745, http://history.library.gatech.edu/items/show/1745 (accessed October 3, 2010)..
  7. "Grant Field," in Georgia Tech Archives Digital Collections, Item #1758, http://history.library.gatech.edu/items/show/1758 (accessed October 3, 2010).
  8. "Bobby Dodd Stadium At Historic Grant Field."RamblinWrek. Georgia Institute of Technology, n.d. Sun. 3 Oct. 2010. <ramblinwreck.collegesports.com/genrel/071001aaa.html Official Georgia Tech Athletics page for Boddy Dodd Stadium>.
  9. "Tech Timeline." Georgia Tech Living History. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2010. <http://livinghistory.gatech.edu/new

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