April 13, 2000
There is a new era in soccer and track and field at UCLA with the opening of a new soccer/track facility. Drake Stadium, home of the men's and women's track teams since 1969, has been transformed into Frank W. Marshall Field at Elvin "Ducky" Drake Stadium, a new home for the men's and women's soccer teams as well as the track squads.
The track and field squad is utilizing the new facility this season and has already hosted two meets. The soccer teams will begin playing on the new grass infield next August.
Most fans will get their first exposure to the new facility on either April 29 or May 6. On April 29, UCLA will hold its final Spring Football scrimmage in the stadium, beginning at 1:00 p.m. On May 6, the stadium will be the site of the annual UCLA-USC men's and women's track and field meet.
The construction time on the project ran approximately four months (mid-August to December). The cost of the project was $1.5 million and was made possible by a lead gift from Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy. All of the money was raised from private funds, no state money was utilized. Seating capacity in the stadium is 11,700.
"As a former member of UCLA's soccer and track and field squads, it gives me great pleasure to help create a state-of-the-art facility to carry our teams into the 21st century," said Marshall.
The track in the facility is brand new and has been converted from a conventional American 400-yard eight-lane oval with a 106-degree radius turn to a European 400-meter nine-lane (48" width lane) with a 136 degree radius on the turn.
The surface is a tartan surface provided by Martin Surfacing. There is 13mm of surface material on top of an asphalt base. A track/field drainage system is flush mounted to the inside of lane one. Also on the inside of lane one is an electrical/timing chase that will house the Lynx timing system for the track.
Other track and field enhancements include: the steeplechase pit has been moved "inboard" of the track on the north turn, the field events include shot, discus and hammer rings at both the north and south ends of the infield and a javelin runway is also located on both ends to accommodate for the prevailing winds for all these events.
In addition, the high jump area has been moved to the south end of the track stadium on its own tartan surface. The north end of the facility will have practice pits for the shot, hammer and discus. The stadium will have four long/triple jump pits featuring 38-foot-long sand-filled pits. There are two practice pole vault pits and one infield runway that can accommodate the pit on either the north or south end to take advantage of wind.
"Our track and field facility is now on the same first-class level with those used for World Championship and Olympic events around the world," said men's head track and field coach Art Venegas. "We have a modern 400-meter wide-turn track, the most improved high jump and throwing facility in the nation, numerous vaulting areas and four jumping pits. Our dreams have come true. The stadium will be a perfect venue to watch soccer in the fall and track and field in the spring."
"I am ecstatic about our new facility" said Jeanette Bolden, head coach of the women's track and field program. "We are the No. 1 school in the United States when it comes to producing Olympians in our sport. It's great to be entering the new millennium with an Olympic caliber track and field facility which will create an outstanding environment for championship performances."
Thanks to the change in the configuration of the track, the grass infield is now wide enough to house a regulation 75-yard by 120-yard soccer field. This will be the new home for men's and women's soccer matches. The field will also be available for other uses, including the annual spring football scrimmage. The field was designed with an "umbrella crown" to facilitate maximum drainage and minimize wear and tear.
The new facility also allows the North Soccer Field, which has been home for the soccer teams the past few years, to become the practice field for both programs.
"Playing in a first-class facility is something we've desired and we're excited that we'll be able to play there next season," said men's head soccer coach Todd Salda?a. "You could say that the stadium is the final piece of the puzzle for the soccer programs and now we have a facility that compares with any other school in the country. I am so appreciative of the administration for investing the time and energy to make this happen and, of course, we thank Frank Marshall for his generous donation that made this project a reality."
"I'm extremely excited. I think it's going to be a wonderful facility," said Jill Ellis, women's head soccer coach. "I think it's going to give us a great atmosphere. The playing surface itself is going to be wonderful and I think it will be nice to have a permanent home where people can come to watch us play. The location is great. It's right by the dorms and in the middle of the campus. I'm hoping we can get the students and the community to come out and cheer us on. I think the new facility puts us on par with some of the other big soccer schools because it gives us a large stadium atmosphere."
Another enhancement for Frank W. Marshall Field at Elvin "Ducky" Drake Stadium is a new scoreboard which measures 25-feet high by 29-feet wide and cost $180,000. The new board was a gift of Kay and Paul Seider. It is a matrix board, allowing for scoring and statistics to be presented for track and field, soccer and football. The system can be connected to the Lynx timing system, which will give instant time and place information for race finishes. The board will always keep the time of day and has the capability of measuring and displaying temperature and wind direction/speed for track meets.