After years of shimmying down narrow bleacher aisles and awkwardly trying to find the right number to sit on, the decision has been made to do away with Kenan Stadium’s aluminum bleachers and bring in individual seats with chair backs and armrests.
Through volunteer feedback and a number of surveys over the last couple of years, UNC’s Athletic Department asked fans to rank what is most important to them and how satisfied they are with their gameday experience. One area in particular showed the greatest discrepancy between rankings of high importance and low satisfaction — seat comfort.
During the 2017 season, UNC Athletics did a trial run and converted bleachers in sections 110 and 111 to seats with chair backs and armrests to increase comfort and improve the overall gameday experience. The plan was to collect feedback from fans in those sections to determine if similar large-scale renovations would be worthwhile. The Department received an overwhelmingly positive response from fans who sat in the new seats.
When it came time to address the removal of what would be hundreds of heavy aluminum bleachers, UNC Athletics partnered with the Sustainability Office and the Three Zeros Environmental Initiative to make sure the project was executed in an environmentally friendly way.
“We knew that they had the Three Zeros campaign underway, so as soon as we were contemplating what we were going to do as far as putting in chair backs and what we would do with the aluminum, we immediately reached out to them to figure out what was the absolute best way to do that from a sustainability standpoint," said Senior Associate Athletics Director Rick Steinbacher.