Oklahoma City suburb prepares for MLS stadium bond vote.

Discussion in 'MLS: Expansion' started by Laramie4OKC, Aug 13, 2002.

  1. Laramie4OKC

    Laramie4OKC New Member

    Jul 25, 2002
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Daily Oklahoman Link:


    Stadium plan may receive kick-start

    By Kenna Griffin
    The Oklahoman

    EDMOND --
    Negotiations between the University of Central Oklahoma and the Edmond school district about renovation to the university's Wantland Stadium could get another player.
    And the 40-year-old stadium, which the three Edmond high schools and the university use for football games, might be getting another sport.

    UCO and school officials have been working on a partnership agreement that would require each to pay for part of renovations the stadium needs and allow the school district to become a part owner.

    Now the possibility looms that a professional soccer team could locate in Edmond and possibly become a tenant for a revamped Wantland Stadium.

    Under the agreement the school district and university have been negotiating, the stadium would be remodeled to include additional and updated seating, concession stands, an improved press box, additional and updated rest rooms and a new scoreboard.

    Officials from the school district and university said the partnership would be beneficial because it would allow the entities to split the cost of renovating the stadium.

    School officials said that as part owners, the district would no longer have to pay to use the stadium for high school football games.

    Speculation this summer that Edmond could land a Major Soccer League franchise has sparked additional interest in Wantland Stadium as a site for the team's home games.

    University officials began talking in July with Brad Lund, chief executive officer of Express Sports, which is interested in bringing a Major League Soccer franchise to the Oklahoma City area.

    The idea of a soccer stadium was first suggested for Bricktown, but attention centered on Edmond when Oklahoma City leaders expressed no interest in a downtown soccer stadium.

    Major League Soccer officials recently announced that they will not add teams until 2004 at the earliest. The organization's commissioner said the league needs to expand, but will not do so until it has the right market, owner and facilities. There was no mention of ongoing discussions with Edmond officials.

    University spokesman Charlie Johnson said the university is continuing its discussions with Edmond schools, but officials are open to adding more partners and bankrolls to the project.

    If the partnership grows to include a professional soccer team, Johnson said, the stadium will need different types of renovations. With soccer, use of the stadium would increase.

    "We would use Wantland about eight months out of the year instead of four," he said.

    City Manager Larry Stevens said city officials also are discussing the possible presence of a soccer team in Edmond. He said a task force will look at the possibility from the city's perspective.

    If the soccer team comes the city will be involved, Stevens said. He said it is unclear what that involvement will be.

    Edmond Schools Superintendent David Goin estimates the remodeling for the high schools and university will cost between $8 million and $9 million. It is uncertain what the remodeling will cost for expansions needed to support a soccer team.

    Goin said the district's portion of the money would need to come from a bond issue. He said voters could expect to see a bond issue question as early as fall.

    Goin said a partnership is important to create a better stadium than would be possible without the joint effort.

    Edmond's three high schools -- North, Memorial and Santa Fe -- play football games at the stadium. Goin said the district pays the university between $30,000 and $40,000 a year to rent the stadium.

    He said junior varsity football teams play at the high schools' fields, which are not adequate for 6A play.

    High school games on Thursdays and Fridays and a college game Saturday puts a lot of wear and tear on Wantland's field, Goin said.

    The school district and university could move forward with the project as soon as this winter, Goin said. He said work on the stadium is at least two school years away.

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  2. Laramie4OKC

    Laramie4OKC New Member

    Jul 25, 2002
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Future of MLS may be in Bricktown!

    Suburban Edmond, a soccer enriched community which borders OKC to the north is preparing plans to convert Wantland Stadium (University of Central Oklahoma) into an MLS specific stadium with hopes of luring an MLS team.

    A recent survey completed by the Edmond Sun (local daily) indicated that Edmond residents favor bringing Major League Soccer to this north OKC community.

    Express Sports of Oklahoma City owns the Oklahoma City Blazers (AA Central Hockey League) have shown interest in a partnership with the University of Central Oklahoma and the Edmond Public Schools in which has three high schools will also use the stadium besides the college (Edmond North, Edmond Memorial and Edmond Sante Fe).

    The Blazers as you know are the most successful minor league hockey franchise in North America averaging 9,000 fans a game for the last 10 seasons in the 13,479-seat Myriad Arena which will soon be retired. The Blazers move into the Ford Center, a new 18,178-seat NHL quality arena which was built for the City's unsuccessful bid for an NHL franchise in 1997 in which Nashville, Atlanta, St. Paul and Columbus were awarded franchises.

    My understanding is that Wantland Stadium will be renovated to an MLS stadium meeting minimum standards.

    Oklahoma City's Bricktown area could later be asked to build a new 40,000-seat soccer specific stadium depending on the success of the MLS in Edmond.

    You see, OKC will be retiring bonds in a few years and an election to build a new soccer specific stadium will not require an increase in present taxes.
  3. Paul Nasta

    Paul Nasta Member

    Oct 16, 2001
    Long Island
    I thought the Metros had it bad sharing their stadium with 2 football teams. The Edmond team will share this stadium with 3 football teams. With football being played there on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, exactly when will the soccer team play?

    Not only will the field have football lines on it (at least toward the end of the MLS season), but my guess is it will be pretty chewed up with all the use it will get.

    I'm sorry to sound so negative, but having an MLS team as the fourth tenant behind 3 high schools and a college, in a stadium located in a suburb of a minor league city, is just not "major league". It's worse than Naperville, but at least Naperville is temporary.
  4. usbfc

    usbfc New Member

    Sep 8, 2000
    New York City
    No MLS Specifically Constructed Stadium?

    I say, NO WAY.
  5. MtMike

    MtMike Member+

    Nov 18, 1999
    the 417
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    When I read this I think "Miami Fusion"
  6. jmeissen0

    jmeissen0 New Member

    Mar 31, 2001
    page 1078
    i don't mind sharing with the college provided there is no track and there is grass

    i do mind sharing with the highschools... that reeks of abuse to all hell... 4 football teams as it is should rip that field to hell just a few games into the season...

    for a time, 4 city schools used the same football field here in springfield... not a good thing come the end of the year... that has changed

    surely one of the city schools can erect something to have an adequate HS football field, that should be involved in any bond, imo
  7. jmeissen0

    jmeissen0 New Member

    Mar 31, 2001
    page 1078

    good point, that was a great stadium, great pitch... nice and wide

    they shouldn't abuse it though... i would think a college, 3 highschools and a soccer team would be though
  8. Viking64

    Viking64 Member

    Feb 11, 1999
    Tarheel State
    Nexturf. Sorry, but that's my first guess. If it has no permanent lines at all, then changover takes the time it takes to strip and paint, not that hard.

    I don't know if Naperville is the example to pick from. Their turf is not actually Nexturf, it's some other kind. The knap is too thick, and the ball is too slow on the surface.

    And it's also hotter than bejesis in daylight, which is a problem in OK even worse than northern IL.

    Or, a tray system. With 3 high schools, a college, and MLS, they could afford a rotating tray system of turf. Otherwise, I see no possible way to manage a field with that much play on it.
  9. jmeissen0

    jmeissen0 New Member

    Mar 31, 2001
    page 1078
    i feel pretty confident in mls bringing in only grass fields for expansion teams... they would probably let a team play on fake until a grass stadium was finished, but other than that... i see no more fake crap in mls

    i think they have learned their lesson with naperville on that one
  10. Huss

    Huss Member

    Aug 1, 1995
    New York, NY
    New York Red Bulls
  11. Paul Nasta

    Paul Nasta Member

    Oct 16, 2001
    Long Island
    Mike -- I'm not going to argue with you about how the stadium would be used. But, if I understand you correctly, from late August until MLS Cup, Wantland Stadium will be used once or twice a week by UCO and/or one of the high schools. The MLS team will have to schedule it's games around those of UCO at least a couple of times. And from late August on, the field will have football lines.

    If Wantland is a temporary situation until an SSS, where the MLS side would be the primary tenant, is built, then go ahead. But it just doesn't seem like a good thing for the league to put a team in Wantland on a long term basis.

    It's one thing to be forced out to the suburbs in LA or Chicago, or to play second fiddle in NY to an NFL team, but to play in the suburbs of OKC and have to yield to a Div II college at the same time would be a mistake.

    I'm not sure of your point that sharing with high schools and a DII team is not the same as sharing with a DI or NFL team. If someone else is using the field, it's not available to MLS. It doesn't matter if that someone else is a Pop Warner team or an NFL team; either way, the field is not available. If you are arguing that damage to the field will not be as bad because the teams using the field are only DII college and HS, well then it's just a matter of degree; there will still be enough damage to ruin the field for soccer.

    Finally, I'm not against OKC, but if MLS is going to go there, I'ld like to see it do better than being the fourth or fifth tenant at Wantland; if that's the best possible stadium situation, then maybe OKC is not worth it.
  12. ElJefe

    ElJefe Moderator
    Staff Member

    Feb 16, 1999
    Colorful Colorado
    FC Dallas
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    What makes you think that the MLS team will have to schedule around the high school teams and not the other way around?
  13. Paul Nasta

    Paul Nasta Member

    Oct 16, 2001
    Long Island
    I never said the MLS team would have to schedule around the high schools; I said the MLS would have to schedule around UCO a couple of times a year.

    According to Mike Segrove's post, UCO plays on Saturdays, and there would be conflicts when UCO has a home game.

    Since UCO owns the stadium, I'm assuming they would get the stadium whenever they wanted it, and MLS would have to work around UCO's schedule.
  14. Paul Nasta

    Paul Nasta Member

    Oct 16, 2001
    Long Island
    Can you drink beer there?
  15. Paul Nasta

    Paul Nasta Member

    Oct 16, 2001
    Long Island
    It's good to see they've already got the barbed wire fences, to prevent pitch invasions by MLS hooligans.
  16. jmeissen0

    jmeissen0 New Member

    Mar 31, 2001
    page 1078
    geebus... asphalt track... why even bother? just use the road

    as for the place... if they get rid of the track and build seating most of the way round (might be cool to have a small picnic area in a corner or two)

    the pitch could then be huge

    my fears of damage are a bit lessened, but i would still prefer one of the 3 highschools getting money from said bond issue to throw some stands next to one of their fields... it doesn't appear like it would need to much from the pictures

    and from the perspective of being a fan of a team that already shares a stadium with a college football team (d3 i believe)... that isn't a problem

    the problem is the pitch, the track, and no beer

    if those three things (hell, the beer ain't that bad... there are bars everywhere nearby) were resolved, it would be virtually ideal... no location is ever going to be perfect

    since this stadium is entirely on the ground (dug in)... they would need more room to place concession stands, bathrooms, fencing, tv towers, you name it)... but it looks like it is there

    an increase in seating would also lead to additional run-off, but since the track will have to be ripped out, a new drainage system would probably need to be done anyways

    i'm sure the school would love to update it's field and bring some more exposure to itself... this could very easily happen at a much smaller cost than they would have anticipated otherwise

  17. jmeissen0

    jmeissen0 New Member

    Mar 31, 2001
    page 1078

    i would imagine they have never had an event there that could have beer before

    ncaa does not allow alcohol sold at their games

    pro sports do, but they would probably have to work with the city and county to change that for a soccer team... not too big a deal, this just happened for the bears in champaign (ncc prevented it in naperville), as the school and the county were for it... they just lessened the maximum number of seats the bears could sell (but also different case than a pro soccer team, just an example)
  18. jmeissen0

    jmeissen0 New Member

    Mar 31, 2001
    page 1078
    they'll turn the track into a wall of fire during games
  19. jmeissen0

    jmeissen0 New Member

    Mar 31, 2001
    page 1078
    i wasn't sure if one of the school might have the room for an extra field, so that if the county/city gave them funds... they could create a suitable HS stadium with stands and a good enough field... kinda tagteaming the bond issue with the college

    my old HS is slowly going that route... we surprisingly got a rubber track before the place is good enough for football (i swore the track would never happen, i think i lost $1000 to my old track coach)... of course we are a private school, and everything occurs slowly for us

    but one of the pulic city schools did turn their old practice field into the city's second HS football field, i don't know if they play varsity games there yet... but it has everything it needs now
  20. jmeissen0

    jmeissen0 New Member

    Mar 31, 2001
    page 1078

    aye, but since they were already talking about a bond for an mls stadium... that's why i thought maybe throwing in a HS field revamping might work
  21. USRufnex

    USRufnex Red Card

    Tulsa Athletic / Sheffield United
    United States
    Jul 15, 2000
    Tulsa, OK
    I'll have to admit, after reading the story I was depressed (although it was indeed FRONT PAGE NEWS in the Oklahoman, no less).

    Sharing a stadium with a college is one thing (see Naperville and SJ) but sharing with THREE Edmond high schools AND a college scares me, especially come PLAYOFF TIME!

    Field gets wet: Edmond North has it's homecoming... marching band gets stuck in the mud... UCO plays a game on it Sat afternoon... then a big playoff game on a muddy field Sat. night...

    I honestly thought that they'd keep Wantland and then build an entirely new stadium.

    Wonder how much Express Sports can donate to the kitty... $10M... $20M... seems to me the deal with the dates is going to hinge on how much $$$ the O/I will kick in for the stadium. And even if you have an agreement in writing, MLS might not come calling, especially if there's a "bait and switch"-- (see SEATTLE).

    Don't mean to be negative but we've gone from a SSS in Bricktown to a new stadium in Edmond to THIS...

    The Tulsa folks could theoretically do the same thing at Broken Arrow HS's field, have a bigger/better stadium to start with and then only have to share with one high school and no colleges...

    OF COURSE THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT IT SHOWED UP ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE DAILY OKIE, which brings me to my next Gaylord conspiracy thread....
  22. Rocket

    Rocket Member

    Aug 29, 1999
    Everton FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I couldn't find a few of the numbers I was looking for in the article, so maybe one of you could be good enough to fill me in.

    1) What's the present capacity of the stadium?

    2) According to the article, the college and high schools plan to spend $8 or $9 million to "remodel" the stadium. Does this figure include any money for stadium expansion?

    3) What kind of capacity would MLS want the stadium to have? Would the college and/or high schools need or be interested in having this additional capactity?
  23. jmeissen0

    jmeissen0 New Member

    Mar 31, 2001
    page 1078
    if they fork money done and build that sucker for soccer as well as football, mls will come

    and i will be more than happy to come barging in for fire games

    if they do it right, the place could be really nice

    over time, i would imagine that another area HS would be needed, and that could be built with a stadium that could be used by the other city HS's

    i didn't realize that this was front page, i do wonder how public sentiment on the issue is... it does appear that Express Sports had a decent reaction to the idea of an mls team... kudos for them, now let's see something happen
  24. dcunited81

    dcunited81 Member

    Jul 18, 2001
    Green Bay, WI
    I say that OKC is a great place to put a team, no competition really during the season, but I will say that the stadium situation worries me a bit, not only will the field have football lines all over it, but with it's use twice a week and virtually no time to repair the stadium between football games, the field is going to look like crap.
    The only way I can see that working out with MLS is a guarantee that a SSS is being built and that this stadium would be only a temporary solution. There is no way that MLS will allow any team to not be able to control all revenue from a stadium. Let's face it, the future of this league depends upon not only SSS, but ones that MLS can control revenues from. I see that as the easiest way to building for the future in this league. The league needs to get rid of it's debts and in case you haven't noticed the only team to turn a profit and help the league out financially, instead of being a burden. THE ONLY WAY A NEW TEAM IS COMING IN TO MLS IS WITH A SSS AND A LOCAL OWNER!!! It's just a fact, so all this discussion otherwise is ridiculous.
  25. jmeissen0

    jmeissen0 New Member

    Mar 31, 2001
    page 1078
    all this discussion is not ridiculous

    it will be a place built for soccer, it will also have additional tenants... many stadiums have more than one tenant... nothing new there

    it's being done to lure a soccer team, not an nlf team, not anything other than an mls team

    if they do it, they deserve one:

    -local owner
    -stadium built for soccer
    -public with no other summer sport option
    -area about the size of columbus (pop. wise)

    what's the problem?

    i have seen football lines at ccs

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