I'm glad to see that the University of Oregon's new track facility intends to replicate something of the atmosphere of the East Grandstand. Having sat in the old stadium since the destruction of the historic West Grandstand, I have a few suggestions about what makes the atmosphere so compelling.
First, the spatial relationship to the track. The grandstand is less than two feet from the outside of lane eight, and the first row of seats is only two to three feet higher than the surface of the track. Every foot you move the stadium back or up changes the intimate atmosphere.
Second, no seat backs. This allows the athletes and their families to spread out among the spectators and has led to many memorable conversations and sharing with Olympic athletes and their families. Seat backs would compartmentalize the stadium and increase isolation rather than foster friendships.
Finally, the new stadium needs to resonate at the right frequency when fans stomp their feet and clap rhythmically during distance races and the pole vault. We want the new stadium to give off a warm sound, and not sound like a metal pie plate.
Steve Johnson, Eugene