Memorial Stadium is a long heralded landmark in Bloomington, Indiana because it has served as the home of the Indiana University (IU) Hoosiers college football team for decades. Fans of the Big Ten Conference football program located in the Hoosier state have affectionately nicknamed the athletic facility “The Rock” and “The House.”
Although ground was first broken on this architectural masterpiece on August 27, 1958 the stadium did not open until midway through the 1960 football season when on October 8, 1960 the Indiana Hoosiers football team ran onto the field in their beautiful new stadium for the first time. The current capacity in the beloved football stadium is an impressive 52,692 which easily outnumbers the entire student population which currently tops 42,000 when including both undergraduates (32,490) and graduate students (8,942). Memorial Stadium has been designed to house not just current students but also faithful alumni and general fans that travel from miles away to see the Hoosiers take on Big Ten Conference opponents.
Prior to construction and the eventual opening of the current Memorial Stadium the architecture team of Eggers & Higgins wanted to honor the original or “old” Memorial Stadium while also designing something beautifully unique and practical. The New York City based architecture firm of Eggers & Higgins drew inspirations from their other successful projects which included numerous other contributions to college campuses. The stadium the team of architects replaced was a 20,000 seat viewing structure that was built back in 1925. The antiqued stadium was in desperate need of replacement and the firm of Eggers & Higgins proved to be just the team for the job.
Since the opening day on October 8, 1960 numerous upgrades have been made to the stadium. The first major change occurred in 1970 when the relatively new and revolutionary idea of artificial turf was first introduced to Bloomington, Indiana. Another noteworthy change is the improvement from wooden seats that were originally installed to aluminum seats that are more resistant to both the elements and normal wear and tear. Yet another improvement occurred when administrators provided the eventual installation of sophisticated lighting and sound systems to enhance the experience for fans. Funny enough, artificial turf was installed in 1970 and then AstroTurf in 1986. The new AstroTurf was replaced shortly thereafter by natural grass in 1998 and then in 2003 as part of a $3.5 million renovation the latest synthetic turf was installed to replace the natural grass put in place only five years earlier.
Fans of college football that have never seen an IU game at Memorial Stadium should really make a point of catching one as soon as possible. Fans around the Big Ten Conference and the country as a whole praise the Hoosier fans for their sportsmanship and friendly enthusiasm.