The vacant hole in the sky left from the west side implosion is now half-filled with the new grandstand.
While construction crews can’t have the stadium completely done by opening day Sept. 19, it will be good enough for the Frogs to play on it and for roughly 32,000 fans to watch them (compared to about 43,000 when finished).
While associate athletic director T. Ross Bailey says it will be worth it in the end, it doesn’t mean the stadium’s season will be without growing pains.
“All of the superstructure will be in for the 2011 season. Some of those spaces won’t be inhabitable,” Bailey said.
Perhaps the most noticeable difference for fans will be the 80 portable restrooms in place behind the west side.
Fans will also have to deal with portable concession stands. Because of the lack of hand-washing stations and refrigeration, they will offer more prepackaged foods.
“We can’t do everything with a portable concession stand that the public has necessarily been used to because of some Health Department issues,” Bailey said.
One thing that may ease the pain for some fans is a new video board that will be ready for the opener. The new screen will be 58 feet by 30 feet, over twice the size of the original scoreboard.
They will use a mobile HD unit near the stadium to run the screens for now, but Bailey said they hope to eventually use Studio C, an HD-ready studio in the Moudy South building. This would allow students to help in the production.
Fans sitting in the north end zone will also be able to watch replays thanks to new video boards on the south side.
Bailey said construction will continue even through the season, just slowing down for games. After the season is over, he said the east side will be renovated. Plans have not been finalized for what that will look like.
To go along with the renovation, a new weight room and locker rooms are currently under construction.
The 18,000 square feet Intercollegiate Strength and Conditioning Center will triple the size of the old weight room and is set to open in September.