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Safety, access improvements under way at Frost Amphitheater

STANFORD -- A project to increase security and improve circulation at Stanford's Frost Amphitheater is approaching the final stages, with new lighting fixtures scheduled to be installed in time for a July 3 concert/fireworks show.

Already completed are the paving of all the walkways leading into and around the perimeter of the 9,000-person capacity open-air arena, and modifications at one gate to improve access for people in wheelchairs or with mobility problems. In addition, measures have been taken to decrease soil erosion on the slopes of the amphitheater, and drainage systems have been improved.

The $250,000 project was made possible by a gift from the Choate Foundation. The work was coordinated by staff from the Planning Office, Facilities Project Management, Stanford Events, the Grounds Division and the Hayward, Calif., firm of Lea & Sung Engineering Inc.

The most significant change is the installation of a new lighting system, which will provide safe lighting both during performances, so patrons can find their way to concessions stands and restrooms and back to their seats again, and afterward as they leave.

The gate with the most gentle grade has been designated as an entry for those with disabilities, and the newly paved path will have two "rest areas" with railings to assist patrons with mobility problems. Parking for the disabled will be provided at the bottom of that gate, off Lasuen Street.

Two dumpster "pads" have been installed along the perimeter walkway, one on each side of the amphitheater, to provide a safe place for the refuse containers.

Access to the backstage area has been improved so that limousines, vans and other large vehicles now can drive right up to the stage to unload dignitaries and performers. Previously, only smaller vehicles such as golf carts and passenger sedans could negotiate the backstage area.

Ekta Gyani of the Planning Office said the lighting levels within and around Frost will be controlled by a new switching and dimming system. The light fixtures are hinged to make maintenance and bulb-changing quick and cost-effective, she said.

Safety was the primary reason the improvements were made.

Additional improvements are planned for Frost in the future, funds permitting, said Judy Chan, associate director of the Planning Office. Most of that work would involve landscaping improvements, she said.

Frost currently is used for concerts, presented both by the Lively Arts at Stanford and the Concert Network, a student organization. Also, the venue is used for weddings, conferences, speeches by visiting dignitaries and large gatherings of all kinds.



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