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SBD/June 21, 2011/Facilities
TCU Stadium Renovations On Schedule; Lower Bowl Seating To Be Ready For '11 Season
Published June 21, 2011
TCU's 81-year-old football stadium is “halfway through an extreme makeover,” with renovations continuing this summer, according to Stefan Stevenson of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. The renovations are “on schedule as a crew and staff of nearly 400 work six days a week, 12 hours a day to have the stadium’s lower bowl ready” for TCU's home opener against Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 17. The upper deck of the west-side grandstands has already “begun to take shape,” and at first glance, “it is impressive how close the upper deck appears to the field, offering fans a great vantage point.” Austin Commercial Senior Project Manager Craig Martin said that the shape of the entire upper deck “will be complete by the end of August, but it won’t be ready for fans” until ’12. The $105M renovations “for the 40- to 45,000-seat stadium are scheduled to be completed” before the start of the ’12 season, and TCU AD Chris Del Conte hopes that he can soon announce “plans to include the east-side grandstands in the renovations.” The original renovation plans, “which addressed the west side and north side of the stadium, were funded by private donations, including six ‘founders’ who each donated $15 million.” But after fundraising “exceeded $105 million,” TCU made plans “to include the east side.” One of the founders “likely made it a done deal by donating an additional $10 million last week, raising the total to $143 million.” The main concern for Martin and the construction team is “having the lower bowl operational for the start” of the ’11 season. As expected, “none of the suites, clubs or permanent concessions will be ready on the west side this season,” but Martin expects the lower-bowl seating “to be ready.” Del Conte has “tried to allay worries from fans about seat relocations and lack of stadium parking” for the ’11 season. He said, “The following year we’re going to have something that is truly the jewel of college athletics when it’s all said and done” (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 6/19).
COLLEGE STATION TRANSFORMATION: In Houston, Richard Justice notes Texas A&M AD Bill Byrne is “leading a transformation of sports” at the school that includes a $50M renovation to Kyle Field and “an outdoor track facility.” Since arriving on campus in ’03, Byrne “has raised $150 million to construct an array of new facilities, including an indoor football practice facility and a basketball practice facility.” Byrne said, “We’re catching up, but we have a ways to go. We’ll have a new baseball facility by next season. When we finish those projects, we can be one of the premier programs in the country” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/21).