UO Hayward Field Construction Continues Despite Track Olympic Trials Postponement

Apr 3, 2020

 

A portion of the infield and the asphalt under the track is visible behind a crane at Hayward Field. Photo taken in February 2020.
Credit Karen Richards / KLCC News

If you drive by the University of Oregon, in Eugene, you might see construction workers still on campus. That’s because Governor Kate Brown's stay-home order did not ban construction.

UO President Michael Schill said the budgets for construction projects and campus operations are different. According to Schill, construction of Hayward Field and the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact are funded by donations. He also said a piece of the Knight campus is funded by the state.

So, they cannot use those funds to make up for lost revenue during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We can't take money from those purposes and move them into the academic budget,” said Schill. “I would be breaking contracts with donors and likely get sued. I would be breaking federal and state law if I were to take money from the state—that was supposed to be for construction—and move it into operating expenses.”

As work on the buildings continues, Schill said construction companies are required to use social distancing in order to keep their workers safe.

“We're also not going to end construction if there's no good reason to end the construction, because that would be just cutting off our nose to spite our face,” said Schill. “These buildings need to get built.”

The Olympic Track and Field events will be scheduled in advance to the Tokyo Olympics on July 23, 2021.