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UND set to begin construction on $700,000 bleachers for indoor practice facility

Photo courtesy of ICON Architectural Group.

Events in UND’s new indoor practice facility are going to be more fan-friendly in 2019.

The school has begun to prepare the High Performance Center for construction of permanent bleachers after the Alumni Association recently secured $700,000 in donations for the project.

“We’re excited about it, for sure,” UND athletic director Bill Chaves said. “Give tons of credit to Mike Mannausau, Steve Brekke, their (Alumni Association) team and all of our donors who made this happen.

“We know how important that facility has been for our various programs. This puts a bow on it.”

Chaves said UND is hoping for construction to be completed by the first of the year and could potentially be done by Dec. 1.

The bleachers are expected to hold “just under 1,000,” according to Chaves, who added his department is also excited about the storage space opportunities below the bleachers.

The UND football team will benefit from the bleachers, as well, as the Fighting Hawks have held their spring game in the HPC in recent years with fans standing with a difficult view around the track.

Erik Martinson, UND’s associate athletic director for operations who oversees the venue, said the bleachers will allow the facility to be more of a community asset.

For example, the new track’s reputation as a fast surface has made the HPC an attractive venue for many area running programs, Martinson said. The bleachers will help the HPC better host events like high school and college track meets.

When outside programs use the HPC, UND typically charges a rental fee.

The bleachers, made of precast stadia concrete, will be delivered in sections, Martinson said. After removing a current railing, the bleachers will be attached piece by piece to the HPC’s current mezzanine and span the track on the building’s west side.

The HPC, which opened in 2015 on the site of old Ralph Engelstad Arena and is almost 200,000 square feet, features a full-length football field and an eight-lane, 300-meter track.

The facility was paid for with nearly $20 million in private fundraising.

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department since 2004. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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