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Queens Chronicle

Stadium renovation to start in February

A retractable roof and secondary arena are coming to the US Open

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Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:27 am, Thu Dec 12, 2013.

Construction of a new, state-of-the-art retractable roof planned for Arthur Ashe Stadium as well as other extensive renovations at the US Open venue will begin early next year.

The proposed remodeling of the US Open site primarily focuses on the addition of a $100 million retractable roof for Arthur Ashe Stadium, funded by the United States Tennis Association, as well as the construction of a new Grandstand Stadium across the tennis center.

National Tennis Center Managing Director Daniel Zausner said at a Queens Borough Board meeting on Monday that underground construction of the columns that will support Arthur Ashe Stadium’s new roof will begin in February.

Construction of the permanent section of the roof itself will begin at the conclusion of the 2014 US Open.

“We have to host the Open each year,” Zausner told the board. “We had to work on a construction schedule that’s longer than we like, but has to start and stop for the 30-or-so days of the US Open.”

Zausner says that after the 2015 US Open, the retractable portion of the roof will be completed in the third and final phase of the project.

The roof will enclose the light towers and the building will stand 190 feet tall when the roof is closed, 82 feet higher than now.

That phase of the project is scheduled to be completed prior to the 2017 tournament.

The USTA will also construct a new Grandstand Stadium on the southwest side of the site used as a parking lot. The new venue will seat 8,000 people.

“The building will be sunk into the ground so the existing trees will actually be taller than the new stadium,” Zausner said. “It will fit in very nicely.”

The design of the new Grandstand Stadium will alleviate pedestrian congestion between the two rows of practice courts, which now features a narrow walkway between 8 and 13 feet wide.

According to the construction plans, the seven courts on the south side of the center will be shifted south 30 feet, with one being removed to make room for the new stadium.

There are three lanes of roadway bordering the venue’s south side. One of those lanes will be removed to increase pedestrian space, according to Zausner.

“That allows us to open up the very congested area,” he said. “[The pedestrian promenade] will open up to about 40 feet.”

In order to accommodate the electrical power needed for Arthur Ashe Stadium’s retractable roof, a new substation will replace the existing one.

Once the new substation is constructed, the old one will be demolished and a chiller plant, which will pump cool air into the stadium when the roof is closed, will be built at the site.

The new power source will be built five feet off the ground to avoid possible issues with flooding, which were seen at the venue after Hurricane Sandy. The area will also be beautified with new trees and shrubbery.

“We have made a commitment,” Zausner said, “to make it a lot more attractive than what it looks like now.”

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