SAN FRANCISCO – Today, Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department announced the opening of Kezar Track after its recent $3.2 million renovation. The renovation was funded by the City’s Capital Planning General Fund. The renovation included the replacement of the running track surface, new entry walk paving, upgraded sound system, new perimeter walkways and curbs, installation of new Mondo running track surface and striping for nine 42” lanes.
At the opening celebration of Kezar Track, Mayor Ed Lee led a warm-up run on the track with a group of middle school students from San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) track teams, including teams from Lawton, Rooftop, Roosevelt and SF Community. More than 200 middle school students were in attendance.
“After an extensive and needed renovation, today the Kezar Stadium track is now re-opened for many to walk, jog, and race, including competitively for our public school youth,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “San Francisco is committed to providing safe, fun, and healthy recreation for everyone.”
The previous track was installed in 1991. Used by over 20 middle schools, ten high schools, and amateur and professional track enthusiasts throughout the City, the intense use the of existing track was showing. In the fall of 2013, the City procured the services of a consultant to develop plans to replace the track. The project team held two community meetings in October and November 2013. The design team also held focused meetings with the Track & Field community, Kezar Stadium Citizen Advisory Committee, SFUSD Athletic Director, & numerous high school track coaches regarding the changes.
“SF Rec and Park thanks Mayor Lee for his leadership in championing for the Kezar Track renovation,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park General Manager. “Now we are able to provide a state-of-the-art track and sports facility for San Franciscans of all athletic levels to enjoy.”
In addition, 1,000 historic Candlestick Park Stadium seats have now been installed at Kezar Stadium for the public to enjoy.
Kezar Stadium had many uses in the 1930s, and in addition to track and field competitions, Kezar Stadium also hosted motorcycle racing, auto racing, rugby, lacrosse, soccer, baseball, boxing, cricket and football. There is a rich tradition of football at Kezar, including the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders who made this field their home in the 1960s and ‘70s. Current and former high school and college teams have played here, including Stanford University, which played a game at Kezar back in 1940 and hosted its annual Cardinal and White spring game at the stadium from 2010-12.
The original Kezar Stadium was constructed on the site of the old Golden Gate Park nursery and stable yard, built in 1874 on the site was John McLaren’s beloved Rhododendron Dell. The stadium architect was Willis Polk. Dedication ceremonies were held on May 2, 1925. The original Kezar Stadium was demolished in 1989. So, this Stadium was reconstructed, providing seating for approximately 10,000 spectators. This Kezar stadium’s features include an all-weather track eight lanes wide, a soccer field 72 yards wide and 110 yards long which can accommodate F.I.F.A. World Cup Competitions, and two new scoreboards, as well as other additions.