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Final touches for new stadium

Bob Ford Field upgrades UAlbany’s football and soccer programs

Most of the 8,500 seats are in place at Bob Ford Field, the new home of the University at Albany’s football and soccer teams. The stadium opens Saturday, Sept. 14, when UAlbany hosts Rhode Island in a football game.

Most of the 8,500 seats are in place at Bob Ford Field, the new home of the University at Albany’s football and soccer teams. The stadium opens Saturday, Sept. 14, when UAlbany hosts Rhode Island in a football game. Photo by Rob Jonas.

— The other four Sectional football finals will remain at school sites, said VanDerzee. The Class A and B finals will be back at Shen, while Stillwater hosts the Class C final and Schuylerville hosts the Class D final.

“Right now, we’re happy with the other venues and where they are,” said VanDerzee. “You always want to put your players on the best stage, but this (Bob Ford Field) is the best fit for the double A’s.”

The Class AA Sectional final is one of the types of events McElroy said he is hoping to bring to Bob Ford Field. Other events he is looking at include the NCAA soccer and lacrosse playoffs, concerts and graduation ceremonies.

“If we could, we’d have an event there every day,” said McElroy. “You want to get as many programs and as many events in there as you can, and I think once people get a chance to see what it’s like in there, they’ll want to come back.”

Construction began on the stadium in April 2012 on a space next to the SEFCU Arena parking lot where the varsity soccer field used to stand. After clearing and leveling the ground, the home-side stands took shape on the north side of the stadium. The FieldTurf surface was laid down in May 2013, and the visitor’s side stands were put in place.

The two-decked home-side stands feature three sections of yellow seatback chairs, which are reserved for season ticket holders. Looming behind the upper level of stands is a building that houses a press box, TV and radio booths and several corporate suites.

Looming over one end of the field is a large video scoreboard. The screen measures 39 feet long and 22 feet high – one of the largest of its kind in the Capital District. Two auxiliary message boards, space for four permanent advertisers and a scoreboard surround the video screen.

Opposite the scoreboard is an entrance ramp set into a berm, where fans can sit to watch the games. Players will walk down the purple-carpeted ramp to the field.

The UAlbany football team has the honor of walking the purple carpet first. The Great Danes inaugurate Bob Ford Field Saturday, Sept. 14, when they host Rhode Island in a Colonial Athletic Association game. The men’s soccer team plays Farleigh Dickinson Sunday, Sept. 15, in its first game at the new stadium, while the women’s soccer team’s first home game is Friday, Sept. 20, against Columbia.

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