That might sound like a blusterous claim, but authorities at University of Oregon seem quite confident of what they're saying. Well, we'll see in 2020, won't we?
While it might seem unbelievable, USA has only several IAAF Class 1 certified running tracks among its hundreds of major stadiums. Seems understandable in the country of American football and even this particular stadium was built with the gridiron sport in mind. Over its 99-year history, however, focus has shifted to athletics and now Hayward Field is one of the country's most well-known track and field stadia.
Photo: brendangates (cc: by-nc-nd)
After nearly being open for a century, this summer, for the first time, it will be completely demolished rather than partially reconstructed. Contractor has already been selected, design documentation is in place, they're not messing around.
Just last week, during official announcement of the project's launch, University of Oregon made a big claim: this is supposed to be the best track and field stadium worldwide. It's expected to not only offer the best possible conditions to athletes, but also give the fans as comfortable experience as possible. The front row will be placed just beside the running track, while all seats should be really wide at 60cm (24 inches).
Its modernity should be emphasised by green approach to building materials and sustainability. As an example, the roof structure will be supported by thick wooden ribs, representing the most symbolic material of Oregon.
In order to maximise daylight use and make the stadium feel airy, facades and roof will be covered with transparent skin. This way proper acoustics should also be secured and, at the same time, fans should have a great view of the stadium's surroundings from the elevated public concourse.
On a daily basis the stadium will hold just under 13,000 people, however on key event days it's expected to grow to 30,000. The only part left almost entirely open is the north-west, where the stadium's main gate will be located, just like at the old Hayward Field.
This time the gate will be decorated by a pond and 9-storey-tall tower, intentionally shaped like an Olympic torch. The tower will be named after Bill Bowerman, UO's legend who coached 31 Olympians in his career.
While U of O refused to reveal its project's total budget, the new stadium is considered fully funded by private donors associated with the university. Now we should just wait until 2020 to see if the stadium really is the best we or anyone could think of...