Change is coming to Harrison next season, and the kind that was announced on Monday will get fans off their feet both literally and figuratively.
Traditional stadium chairs are being taken out of the South Ward supporters’ section in favor of a rail seating system. The rail seating will create extra space in rows and make all three supporters’ sections – 133, 101 and 102 – safer for fans to stand and move around in during matches.
The new rail seating will also include cup holders, which were previously left out of the South Ward. Seats will still be available to be folded down whenever needed.
This transformation of the supporters’ section is part of a multi-faceted arena makeover led by GM Marc de Grandpre, an attempt to “refresh the building.”
De Grandpre is playing the long game. The first step in this project involved tarping off sections of the north and south upper bowl, kicking season ticket holders out of their chosen seats. That was not met with much applause.
But the introduction of safe standing is a switch that corrects a significant shortcoming in the arena’s original design. It’s a shrewd move that buys the organization valuable good grace.
It was also revealed that the concourse behind the South Ward will adapt to fit de Grandpre’s open space vision, becoming an area where fans can congregate and still watch the match.
The ‘Red Seat,’ which was dedicated to long-time ESC member Mike Vallo after he passed away in 2015, will be given to his family. A new part of the safe standing section 101 will commemorate him.