Princeton University receives second major application approval for East Campus

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A Princeton University entrance into construction site for East Campus Garage and Soccer Stadium in Princeton on Jan. 19. ANDREW HARRISON/STAFF
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Construction site for Princeton University East Campus development projects on Jan. 19. ANDREW HARRISON/STAFF
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A Princeton University entrance into construction site for East Campus Garage and Soccer Stadium in Princeton on Jan. 19. ANDREW HARRISON/STAFF
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Construction site for Princeton University East Campus development projects on Jan. 19. ANDREW HARRISON/STAFF

Princeton University is able to move forward with the proposed construction of a new soccer stadium and practice field on campus.

The university received approval for the proposed project from the Princeton Planning Board this month on Jan. 7. The stadium and practice field are part of the university’s plan to develop the East Campus Entry.

The university had already received a green light for the construction of the East Campus Garage in 2020 and awaits preliminary and final site plan approval for a geo-exchange and athletics operation facility in addition to the recently approved soccer stadium and practice field.

The new soccer stadium will be close to 12,500 square feet and relocates the existing Roberts Stadium from the western side of Washington Road. The stadium’s new proposed location is west of FitzRandolph Road and south of Strubing Field, according to application documents.

The stadium’s location on the East Campus site will also replace the existing structure of the FitzRandolph Observatory, that is being demolished during developments, with the practice field going on the current site of surface parking lot 21, south of Jadwin Drive.

The stadium itself will be a natural grass soccer stadium and the practice field is set to be artificial turf. When the practice field is completed its location would be adjacent to the new East Garage that is also west of Fitz Randolph Road in addition to abutting Faculty Road to the project’s south.

Representatives for Princeton University, through the hearings, said that parking generated from the stadium would be accommodated in the East Garage, since surface parking lots will be eliminated from that portion of the site to make room for the projects. Testimony from Princeton University during the hearing indicated that the East Garage could handle game day parking for weekdays and weekends.

The new Roberts Stadium that is going to be built near Jadwin Gym and Caldwell Field House seats a little more than 2,100 people for open air seating, which is a reduction in seating from the existing Roberts Stadium seating of more than 2,300.

On the eastern side of the stadium there will be an eastern pavilion one-story structure for the restrooms and concessions and the western side of the stadium consists of a two-story structure containing ticketing, locker rooms and a press box.

One of the concerns raised by residents residing near the stadium focused on noise and sound from the new stadium and its sound system. Residents such as Olga Troyanskaya, who lives on FitzRandolph Road, Todd Cronan, who lives on Hartley Avenue, and Helen Nissenbaum voiced issues with modeling and the decibel level counts during the public hearing.

Attorney Christopher DeGrezia, of law firm Faegre Drinker Biddle and Reath, who represented Princeton University, said on Jan. 7 that the stadium sound system would be compliant with state noise code limits. In New Jersey, the noise code limits for sound level standards are 65 decibels during the daytime and 50 decibels during nighttime starting at 10 p.m.

As part of one the conditions for project, the sound system would automatically adjust after 10 p.m. to limit noise, and the university agreed to a post-project independent study to make sure the system is in compliance.

Next on the East Campus project approval list for the university is the one-story facility that would contain the new TIGER, a geo-exchange resource (generates heating and cooling for the campus), and new storage and operation space for Princeton athletics. That project’s public hearing before the Planning Board was carried to Jan. 21.