A One of Kind Rooftop Stadium
When you can't build outward, you have to build up.
That's the lesson learned at Union City High, where they came up with a unique setup in the nation's densest city with 51,810 people per square mile. When the new school was built in 2009 - consolidating Emerson HS and Union Hill HS - there was no room for the ‘typical’ high school stadium. The Union City High School takes up four-and-a-half acres in the center of the city, squeezed between private homes, businesses, and commercial strips.
So the football, soccer and baseball field and bleachers were built on the roof! The third-floor stadium presents a breathtaking view of the Empire State Building and Midtown Manhattan. Roosevelt Stadium is probably the only high school in the country with its playing field resting on the roof. As a tribute to it’s past, resting on the site of the former stadium, it retains a classic grandstand roof, arched entries and the old facility’s signs.
The stadium has been nicknamed "Eagle's Nest" in honor of its new mascot, a soaring eagle. It seats 2,500 with room for another 1,800 temporary seats for football games in the baseball outfield and has artificial turf. Accessible from the exterior via a series of ramps or an elevator, and from the inside via three flights of stairs, Roosevelt Stadium also features field-level locker rooms and concessions.
The right field and left field wall hugs the educational wing, an L-shaped, four-story structure that houses classrooms for 1,850 students in grades 10 through 12. A three-court, 2,400-seat gymnasium, an auditorium and black-box theater, a cafeteria, a health center and media labs are located beneath the stadium.
The school cost $180 million, with $15 million of that going toward the stadium. There is a 40-foot high net in each end zone to catch attempted field goals and extra points.
The NFL Play for 60 camp for ages 9-13 was held at the stadium. It targeted obesity and the ensuing diabetic problem and drew 300 entries, mostly from Hudson County. The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers have practiced at the stadium prior to games in New York as well.
This unique stadium was also named in Max Prep’s famous column “10 more high school football stadiums to see before you die” on July 25, 2014