Construction on the new stadium will continue during the 2011 football season, Ross Bailey, Associate Athletic Director for Operations, said.
“We’re not stopping work just because we’ve got football games,” Bailey said. “We’re stopping for a day and a half around the six home football dates.”
Capacity for the upcoming season will be approximately 32,000 people. He said providing as many seats as possible during construction means fans will be sitting shoulder to shoulder.
“It’s not going to be quite as tight as the student section has been when they’re standing sideways shoulder to shoulder, but it will be snug,” Bailey said.
Ticket prices didn’t change this year, Bailey said, but there are no premium tickets available for this season except for in the south end zone.
“All the premium seating options come into play for 2012,” he said.
In addition to the change in seating capacity, fans will notice other changes around the stadium.
Bailey said many amenities, including the press box, bathrooms, and concession stands, will be in temporary tents. He said all of the tents will be on the west side of the stadium.
“Temporary concession stands will affect the kind of food we are able to sell for a year,” Bailey said. “A lot [of] the food will be pre-packaged because we won’t have all of the fire systems in.”
The plan is to set up the temporary tents Friday afternoon before each home game and take them down on Sunday, he said.
In addition to temporary housing for various stadium amenities, Bailey said there will be 1,200 fewer parking spaces available this season.
Bailey said donor groups have done a good job of making sure people who had parking spots in the past still have parking, but it won’t necessarily be right by the front door.
Even during all the construction, Bailey said fans will notice some improvements right away, including two new video boards and a new sound system.
Bailey said the new stadium will include original art designs from the 1930s and salvaged pieces of the old stadium.
“We are trying to honor those old traditions and history and yet ‘wow’ you into the future with new amenities,” Bailey said.
The west side of the stadium should be completed by June of 2012, Bailey said. Construction on the east side will begin at the end of the 2011 season, pending board approval.
“We expect it to be a great year, and everybody will show up and have fun,” Bailey said. “We just ask everybody to know that it’s a transition year. Let’s all have a great attitude, be respectful of each other and have a great time.”