Already steeped in sports and entertainment history, what was JELD-WEN Field and is now Providence Park, underwent a $40 million renovation in 2010 for Major League Soccer and the Portland Timbers, making it the most intimate, exciting and authentic soccer facility in the United States. The renovation elevated the facility to MLS standards and enhanced the fan experience of attending an event by increasing the functionality of the venue and introducing new amenities.
Some of these features include the new east side KeyBank Club, an expanded Timbers Team Store, new concession stands and more group and family decks. Additionally, the renovation helped the park’s ability to be a year-round community center and play host to more than 250 events a year, including Portland State football and an array of youth sports and community-based events.
The playing surface shifted to the west and the north to make for a more intimate and closer-to-the-action feel. It also affords more space on the east and south sides of the stadium for the new seating areas. Prior to the 2011 MLS season, a new FieldTurf Duraspine Pro playing surface was installed at Providence Park. On April 18, 2011, the surface at Providence Park earned a FIFA 2-star recommended status, becoming the only FIFA recommended field in the state of Oregon.
Featuring advanced FieldTurf technology, the stadium’s playing surface was installed on top of an “e-layer,” which serves as a permanent, elastic shock pad that both reduces the risk of player injury and enhances the quality of game play on the FieldTurf. The field has been designed specifically to mirror elite levels of playing characteristics for soccer. The FieldTurf system has gained recognition within the global soccer community for providing ideal levels of energy restitution, grass-like ball performance and proper shock absorption.
One of the major components of the renovation, a new seating area along the east side of the stadium was installed, running parallel to the east sideline and 18th Avenue. The top of the new stands begins at the widened public concourse at street level and extends down to the field. These new seats have industry-leading leg room and width, with a majority of the new seats covered by a new roof. More than 1,100 of the new seats are premium club seats, with the highest level of fan amenities, including a separate entrance and access to the new KeyBank Club restaurant.
The renovation design achieves the imperative of preserving substantial views into the stadium from 18th Avenue and to the city from within Providence Park.
Contiguous to the new east side seating areas is the Widmer Brothers Southern Front, a bar area and seating/staging platform located behind the south goal. The area features four rows of fixed seating behind the goal, in addition to an expansive, 9,250-square-foot area that serves as a unique new gathering place for fans, offering a variety of food and Widmer Brothers beverages and a distinctive vantage point. During events, the Widmer Brothers Southern Front serves as a group picnic area and/or performance area. The area can accommodate concert staging, which increases Providence Park’s ability to efficiently and cost-effectively host concerts.
In conjunction with the construction of the new east-side seating area, several other new public areas were built, including:
At the 18th Avenue and Morrison Street corner entrance of Providence Park is the extended KeyBank Plaza. The existing open plaza was extended in to the stadium towards the field, where fans can catch a glimpse of the renovated stadium. During non-event times, the KeyBank Plaza is open to the public, with views of the field.
A new 1,000 square-foot team store now sits adjacent to the newly extended public plaza at 18th Avenue and SW Morrison. The store is open to the public during non-event hours.
New concession stands and restrooms were added on the east side concourse to service the new seating areas.
As part of the new east side seating area, the new KeyBank Club services the 1,100-plus midfield club seats. This 5,200 square-foot club has views to the field, private entrances and becomes the first sit-down restaurant in the 85-year history of the stadium. The club space is also available for rent for private functions during non-event times.
The new 2,200 square-foot Community Room was built adjacent to the KeyBank Club. This multi-purpose space can be used extensively for a variety of community and corporate events both during non-event hours and during events.
Integrated into the design of the new east-side seating areas are three new open-viewing decks, including the Budweiser Balcony overlooking the northeast corner of the field. These areas provide excellent views to the field for groups and can also accommodate temporary bleacher seating to increase the capacity for larger events.
Integrated into the new east-side seating area is the new Providence Sports Care Center. Completely privately funded, this 12,000-sq. ft. facility serves the neighborhood and provides daily activity on a year-round basis to the east side of the stadium.
To meet MLS requirements and industry standards, new video and broadcast facilities were included in the renovation. To enhance the fan experience, a new, 37-by-20-foot HD video scoreboard was installed at the south end of the stadium, new field-side LED boards were added to various areas of the seating bowl, and new television monitors were placed in the concourse to serve the new seating areas.
Foundation work for the new east- and south-side seating structures and other preparatory work commenced in February 2010. Construction work ceased during the Timbers’ 2010 season and began again in September of 2010. All work was completed in time for the Timbers’ home opener on April 14, 2011.