Ever since the last major renovation to Razorback Stadium in 2001, many fans have hoped that one day the north end zone would also be filled in by seats.
It appears that day may be coming to fruition sooner rather than later. Arkansas announced today that they are planning to seek approval from the Board of Trustees to move forward on "the full design and cost estimate" of the project as well as permission "for the department to begin accepting commitments for capital contributions and gifts for the new suites, loge boxes and club seats."
So basically, the school will have to get through a few approvals from the board, but assuming they do so, it appears this will be a go.
So far, there are no exact plans and layouts for project, which is presumably why the only image any of us are seeing is the conceptual drawing above of the outside of the stadium, but here's what they have in mind:
- North end zone. The north addition will include new suites, loge boxes, club seats, and club areas. The east and west concourses will connect to allow flow of patrons around the stadium, as well as provide new concessions and restrooms. Additional and expanded entrances will improve patron flow. A new gameday locker room, training room, and pre/post game support rooms will be added for the football team.
- Stadium updates. New elevators will be installed at the northeast and northwest corners to service the existing east and west suites, club areas, and upper level seating. Existing suites and club areas will be renovated and updated. A new video board will be added at the south end of the stadium. Security and safety systems will be enhanced.
- Frank Broyles Athletic Center. The Broyles Center will be affected by the larger north end zone project, and will be rebuilt in the new north end. The Broyles Center will still house the administrative offices, along with space that can be used for ticketing, merchandise, and Razorback history and traditions.
And there's also this interesting sentence from Jeff Long:
Reducing prices in the upper level of the stadium and providing a lower priced standing room only ticket will give every Arkansan an opportunity to cheer on the Hogs.
Long says he's heard the fans talking about the desire for more variety in ticket prices. But many tickets prices will likely be increased. They also say this. Emphasis mine.
A preliminary cost estimate for the project is $160 million. This project will be funded entirely by athletics revenues, capital gifts, and bond proceeds from a future bond issue. Season ticket and single game ticket price adjustments will also be implemented. Bonds will be amortized using athletic revenues generated from the stadium. No university funds will be required to complete this project.
You can bet that "adjustments" will not mean "decrease". Except possibly for those upper level corner seats.
Arkansas announced in 2009 that a north end zone completion would be part of the "facilities master plan" but until now we haven't heard more than a word about it. There have been reports that recruits have been told it's happening, but never a confirmation from anyone. Until now.