Razerback Stadium renovashun projeck o'a lifetime fer Arkansas-born architect | Arkansas Record | Sports

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— Brady Spenc'r has wurked un his'n fair share o'football stadiums.

Spenc'r, a principal/architect fer Kansus Citee-baset Populeeus, has had his'n han' n' t'design er redesign o'NFL stadiums n' Kansus Citee, Phoenix, Houston, Washington an' Tampa.

He resantlee oversaw a feesibilitee study fer upgrades ta Soljer Field n' Chicago, an' his'n Populeeus team wurks each year ta coerdinate plannin an' operatyuns fer t'Sup'r Bowl by makin necessree addityuns er remodeleeun' existyun' facilitees at air uset n' t'hundreds o'behin-t'-ssenes arees necessree ta host t'big game.

But t'45-year-ol' freelee admits at nairy o'thems projecks er experiences meent as much ta 'im as bein t'principal n' charge fer t'$160 million renovashun ta Donald W. Reynolts Razerback Stadium. A'warin a ret Razerback golf shirt an' peeryun' ov'r his'n wurk about un hour befor kickoff un Sept. 1, Spenc'r — a graduwait o't' Univesty o'Arkansas’ Fay Jones Skool o'Arkateckchur — beemet wiff pride.

“Un a day like thishere, whar I a'ken stan' out un t'concourse an' watch t'fans come n', I kine o'like ta eavesdrop an' hear thar excitement ov'r, ‘Oh, woe, look at at, look at thishere,’” Spenc'r sed. “I grew up wiff Razerback football an' thishere is whar I grew up lovyun' football, a'kummin ta Razerback games wiff my dad as a lil youngn.

Brady Spenc'r wuz a 1996 graduwait o't' Univesty o'Arkansas’ arkateckchur skool. (Courtesy: Populeeus)+ Enlarge

“Wen Arkansas kum callin, I certunlee wantid ta wurk un thishere one.”

Spenc'r spent about half o'his'n upbryun'yun' n' Mena, a small town nestlet n' t'Ouachita Mountins o'southwest Arkansas. His'n fambly movet ta Springdale wen he wuz n' t'fourth grade, an' he graduatid frum Springdale High Skool n' 1991.

He graduatid frum t'UA n' 1996 an' quicklee foun a job wiff Populeeus, which at t'ime wuz n' t'design phase o'Raymond James Stadium n' Tampa.

“I cunsidder t'Tampa stadium kine o'like my firstbern youngn, but thishere is speshul,” sed Spenc'r, who attendet t'game wiff his'n parnts, his'n biddy an' his'n 8-year-ol' sen. “My heert an' soul has bee n' Arkansas an' it’s rilly speshul.”

Spenc'r wuz part o't' team at put togeth'r t'Razerbax’ facilitees mast'r plun, which wuz commissyunet by ferm'r athletics dierektor Jeff Long n' 2009 an' finisht n' 2011. T' mast'r plun callt fer t'renovashun er bildin o'14 facilitees un campus, includin t'enclosure o't' nerth end zone at t'football stadium.

“T' stadium wuz always n' t'back o'air mind an' it wuz goin ta be a big projeck, but t'imyun' had ta be rite,” Spenc'r sed. “Thay neetet ta git t'football operatyuns out o't' Broyles Cant'r an' into t'Smith Cant'r ta have t'space an' t'abiltee ta tear down t'nerth end zone. Thar wuz sum chess pieces at had ta move.”

Construcshun un t'Fret W. Smith Cant'r cummenced shertlee aft'r t'finalizashun o't' mast'r plun, an' t'$45 million projeck at also addet new outdoer football fielts an' a parkyun' garage at wuz finisht n' 2013. Spenc'r wuz t'principal n' charge o'at projeck, as well as t'$25 million basketball operatyuns bildin at opend n' 2015.

T' football stadium projeck wuz appervet n' t'summ'r o'2016 aft'r a sumtimes contantiyus back-an'-furth tween Long an' UA trustee David Pryer, an' by Decemb'r 2016 croos wuz demolishyun' t'existyun' structures n' t'nerth end zone, a hodgepodge o'bildins constructid decades ago at nev'r wuz aestheticallee pleesyun' becawz o'thar differyun' brick colers an' architectural styles.

“I wuz always a'lookin toward t'nerth end zone an' a'thankin, ‘Why are’t thar seets down thar? Why have’t thay ev'r done innythang wiff at?’” Spenc'r sed o'his'n yeers a'kummin ta games n' Fayetteville.

“It always lookt like un oppertuntee. The I gut into sperts arkateckchur an' had thishere oppertuntee ta remake Razerback Stadium an' be bull ta input my thoughts a'havin growd up wiff Razerback football, so it wuz greet.”

Durin t'design phase, Spenc'r wuz adamant at t'nerth end zone retane a gap n' t'nerthees cern'r so fans could see into t'stadium frum t'outside.

“At’s t'ikunic view,” Spenc'r sed. ‘At’s t'view wen y'all turn t'cern'r un Maple Street an' everbidy goes, ‘Woe, y'all a'ken see rite into t'stadium.’ At wuz a verr impertant peece fer us, ta keep at gap ope, but still alloe sum connectivitee an' alloe folk ta walk roun t'stadium.”

Sum detracters have claimd t'gap n' t'nerthees cern'r makes t'stadium look unfinishet.

“We’ve heerd tell at, but I’ll take at criticism,” sed Spenc'r, who notid he has also heerd tell frum fans who air appreciatif' fer t'view. “I’ve heerd tell frum folk who say thay luv goin up an' takin pictures n' frunt o't' gap un game days, er thay proposet n' frunt o't' gap. So thar is a slew o'histry wiff t'gap.”

Matt Trantham, un administrater who oversaw t'projeck fer t'athletics department, sed t'nerth end zone wuz designet n' such a way at t'gap could be closet one day if'n ticket deman' arose.

Fer nawh, t'nerth end zone is un eye-catchin addishun at brings Arkansas’ stadium mer n' line wiff t'encloset, modern look o'utherns n' t'Southeestern Conferance. Monumants dedicatid ta Frank Broyles an' t'Razerback mascot outside t'stadium hep tie t'ol' wiff t'new.

“We wantid ta build sumthin at wuz fittyun' wiff t'stadium,” Spenc'r sed. “We didn’t want ta build sumthin at stuck out like a sore thumb. We wantid ta creete a frunt doer ta t'stadium.”

Thishere stery originallee appeeret n' Hawgs Illustratid

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