College Facility Notes: Texas Tech Renovation Could Boost Capacity To 70,000
In Houston, David Barron noted Texas Tech recently began "construction on a $15 million renovation" of Jones AT&T Stadium's north end zone that "will boost seating capacity to about 61,000." Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt "has plans for a second round of changes to the north end zone that could begin after the 2013 season if budgets and funding are finalized." That leaves the "south end zone, where the plaza in front of the Tech athletics administration building still features the Southwest Conference logo and the names of its last eight member institutions, as the final step in boosting stadium capacity toward 70,000." Scheduled to debut next fall will be a "new video board measuring 100 feet long by 40 feet high, a new sound system, about 1,600 additional seats, and an expanded concourse wrapped within Spanish renaissance-style exterior columns." Phase II of the north end-zone plan would "include 500 club seats overlooking the grassy knoll behind the goal posts and perhaps suite spaces in the north end-zone building that now houses the ticket office and other business operations" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 12/26).
PENNY PINCHING: Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said of the school's $425M planned redevelopment of Kyle Field, "Our goal is to build the best stadium there is for the fewest amount of dollars, and so far we're on track for both." In San Antonio, Brent Zwerneman noted Texas A&M officials recently "announced Manhattan-Vaughn as their construction partner -- a combination of Manhattan Construction Group and Vaughn Construction." The school had "hoped to make a recommendation on a final plan to its regents this past fall, but that has been pushed back to later this winter or spring." Zwerneman noted what is clear is "A&M, home to about 50,000 students, does not intend to play its home games away from College Station for a season or two, and the seating capacity likely will be more than 100,000." A&M, which plans to "pay for the renovation through donations to the 12th Man Foundation and bonds paid for by future stadium revenue, also intends to capitalize on the Aggies' recent on-field success -- and growth" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 12/27).
EXTREME STADIUM MAKEOVER: In Cincinnati, Cliff Peale reported donors at the Univ. of Cincinnati said that they are "ready to support a $70 million renovation of Nippert Stadium." The ACC is UC’s "preferred destination in the dizzying game of conference realignment that so far has left it on the outside looking in." UC officials "insist they didn’t promise the Nippert renovation to the ACC, Big 12 or any other conference, but they know those conferences are watching." Premium seating would add to UC's "$27.5 million athletic budget, one of the lowest among big-time football programs across the country." UC AD Whit Babcock said that "even with no private donations, selling three-quarters of the new seats would cover debt payments on the renovation" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 12/23).