Press Box renovoation (left) and completion (right), 2009 (click thumbnails for larger images)
Designer: Joachim Watrin, OSB
Dates: 1954, 2009
An early press box for the football stadium was in place already in 1922, when The Record reported on the first play-by-play radio broadcast of a game against St. Olaf:
"Something new in the line of thrills heaeabouts was inaugurated during the Ole-Johnnie mixup. Telephone lines, running from the press box on the sidelines up to the radio station carried the story of the game play by play. Thence it was flashed by radio to the fans in Northfield." (The Record November, 1922, p. 448)
That press box was replaced in 1954, according to The Record, July 30, 1954, p. 3:
"Work is nearing completion on the new press-box overlooking the natural bowl. It replaces the picturesque hay rack that served faithfully in past seasons.... It is a new two-story press-box, located above and to the rear of the present concrete bleachers. The first floor of the 44-foot-long building is a refreshment stand, with the serving counter sheltered by the projecting floor above it.
Cast in contemporary lines, the press-box was designed by Rev. Joachim Watrin, OSB, and built under his supervision. The building is of block and wood construction, with the lumber stained by an oil and blue-pigment mixture. The redwood bleacher seats, sanded and repaired, were also painted.
The new press-box has individual compartments for sports writers and for radio announcers. The roof of the new building will be used by photographers."
Over the years the press box was enlarged and repaired. Then, in the summer of 2009, it received a major face-lift to bring it up to code and add an elevator, rest rooms, a deck, and a third tier. The second tier was redesigned to provide improved spaces for media and coaches, and the third tier provided space for four suites and the President's Box, to be used by the President, honored guests and corporate donors. The cost of the renovations was estimated to be $500,000, largely financed by private donors. "The construction did not tap into a single tuition dollar of students," St. John's Athletic Director TomStock said (The Record, September 4, 2009, p. 10). "The new press box in Clemens Stadium is one of the best in the nation for viewing football games and fits right into Johnnie football's long-standing tradition of excellence."