Camp Randall hand railings put to the test in season-opener

MADISON (WKOW) — As Camp Randall prepares for the Badgers’ first home game of the 2019 season, it’s also debuting a few new features, including handrails.

UW Athletics proposed adding railings after some longtime season ticket holders complained that the lack of railings has made it difficult for them to get to their seats.

Now with the railings installed on a trial basis, other fans like Pat Huber are expressing their relief.

“To know that we’re appreciated and there’s an effort for our safety, I like that,” she said.

Grandmother to a Badger athlete herself, Huber said she likes to see as many games as she can but a debilitating fall a few years ago makes it difficult at times.

“I’m always aware now,” she said. “Am I on firm ground? Am I safe? Because I cannot exacerbate that injury with another fall.”

Because of that, Huber said she tries to avoid any stairs without a railing.

Daron Jones, the UW Athletics executive director of external engagement, said Huber is far from alone. He said the athletics department has been considering installing railings for years but the narrow aisles at the more than 100-year-old stadium has made it difficult.

“That was a reoccurring theme that seemed to come up,” he said. “In this case it’s really trying to fit them into the existing space without impacting people’s sight lines or seating.”

Jones said athletics installed the railings in early summer but only in two sections, for a trial basis. Sections B-C and BB-CC will have the hand rails lining the aisles and athletics officials will pay close attention to how fans can navigate around them when the crowds come in.

“Before we went all in, it was important to those officials who are a part of the decision-making process that it can be done feasibly and safely more important than anything,” Jones said.

After each game, he said the athletics department will work with UW-Madison Police and the Madison Fire Department to evaluate whether the railings help or impede fans. If UW Athletics believes the experiment is successful, the railings could expand to the entire stadium next season.

“Handrails have been budgeted for should they be approved by those parties we mentioned we would be able to move through with installing them throughout the stadium,” Jones said.

The fans who brought this issue to 27 News’ attention are season ticket holders in section C. They said they’re looking forward to testing the rails out on Saturday.

Another new feature at Camp Randall and the Field House is a Mother’s Room.

The pod in the field house is a designated space where mothers can breastfeed or pump in private. Moms who want to use the area can visit the guest services office in section Y-Z on the south side of the stadium.

More at WKOW 27 News

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