From now through September 3rd, I am posting a daily reason why it is great to be a fan of Rutgers football. There are a lot more than thirty, but I picked my thirty reasons, and hope you like them. If not, be sure to let me know.
When you go to a football game at Rutgers, you walk into a magnificent stadium that is now called High Point Solutions Stadium. It has an interesting history.
The original stadium built on the current site was a project developed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1938. The WPA was a New Deal program designed to provide work to the unemployed in the Great Depression. The original stadium was a huge upgrade from its predecessor, Neilson Field, which was located on the College Avenue Campus. Neilson Field was used by the college from 1892 until 1938.
Rutgers Stadium was built on the site chosen mainly due to the topography. The land was a natural bowl, and the stadium was merely built into the hills that occupied the area. It had a final capacity of 31,219 by the time is was closed for renovation in 1992.
The 1993 season was played at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, and the renovated stadium was opened in time for the 1994 season, with a new capacity of 41,500.
For the Big Game between Rutgers and Louisville in 2006, temporary stands were placed in the open “U” end of the stadium. The picture above shows when the students stormed the field from those temporary stands. As a result of those stands, a then-record crowd of 44,111 were present at that iconic game. However, I think I’ve met at least 100,000+ fans who swear they were there.
After another expansion in 2009, it increased the stadium’s capacity to its current size of 52,454. The original plan was to expand to 56,000, but the economic downturn of 2008-2010 and overall financial difficulties in fundraising during the Great Recession forced the Board of Governors to reduce the capacity to its current level.
Rutgers Stadium became High Point Solutions Stadium (HPSS) with the approval of naming rights in 2011. When you look at the stadium as it is today, there have been many improvements since the last expansion in 2009, including new electronic signage, the widening of the concourses on each side, increased bathrooms, and implementation of increased wireless capacity (which is still not as good as everyone needs).
HPSS is a good-sized stadium, though it is thought to be smaller based upon the huge size of stadiums in the conference, with only Minnesota and Northwestern smaller in capacity. Back in 2014, Athlon published an experts’ ranking of the stadiums, and HPSS came in 12 of the 14, ranking higher than the stadiums for Indiana and Purdue.
However, there has been a lot done in the past few years, and I see more being done. It is a easy stadium to navigate, and staffing is excellent. Fans are well treated while there, as those who have travelled to other stadiums can attest.
So, our Day 22 reason why it is great to be a Rutgers fan is their home, High Point Solutions Stadium.