Venue News: 2012 Olympic Stadium Goes to West Ham

The British government and the Mayor of London have formally approved West Ham’s bid to move into the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games. The Premier League club was selected last month as the preferred tenant for the $867 million venue, beating a rival bid from Tottenham. The decision needed to be ratified by the government and Mayor Boris Johnson’s office, and the Department for Communities and Local Government granted that approval this week. West Ham plans to downsize the stadium after the Olympics from 80,000 to 60,000 seats and use it as a multipurpose venue. It will fulfill Britain’s promise to retain a running track at the showpiece venue…

…The Baltimore Orioles this week debuted an overhauled Ed Smith Stadium in “what will be a celebration for an organization that has endured substandard and outdated spring facilities for years,” according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. The Orioles’ $31.2 million renovation of their spring-training home in Sarasota, FL, and the “minor-league complex at nearby Twin Lakes Park started in June and will continue long after the big-league team heads north for the 2011 season.” But the ballpark already has “garnered rave reviews from players, coaches, and team officials”…

…The public this week will get its first look at the newly completed Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex in Indiana, PA, a $79 million venue with a 5,000-seat arena built by Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Local members of Congress and other elected officials as well as university representatives are expected to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony, celebrating what community leaders predict will be a cultural and economic boost to the region…

… At the University of North Texas’s new Mean Green Stadium, the seating structure at the north end zone replicates eagle wings spreading toward the clouds against the Denton skyline. The architectural message isn’t subtle: the university wants its football team to dominate. But the 30,000-seat facility, still under construction, has another vibe: call it nice green, instead of mean green. The $78 million project is blending eco-friendly features into construction to help lessen the stadium’s environmental impact while saving energy dollars.