Kansas State fans won’t be required to wear hardhats when they enter the west side of Bill Snyder Family Stadium this fall, but there will be a significant amount of construction well underway.
“Our fans, theoretically by the end of the season, will be walking right under the new structure to get to their seats to the west side of the stadium,” K-State athletics director John Currie said.
K-State announced on Friday that it will break ground on the West Stadium Center project on April 28 at 11:30 a.m. — a ceremony that will occur just before the Wildcats’ spring football game at 1:10 p.m.
The project, which essentially is a complete overhaul of the west side of the football stadium, will be an aggressive, fast-moving project that’s scheduled to be finished prior to the 2013 football season.
“The construction timeline is pretty aggressive, but it’s also a realistic schedule,” Currie said. “Immediately after the spring football game the excavation process will start. By the time our season starts we will likely have a pretty significant excavation and very possibly some steel rising on either side of the building. Then, after the 2012 football season, the existing structure will be torn down and we will fill into the middle in the void created by tearing down the existing structure.”
K-State has already secured $40 million in fundraising for the $75-million project, which will feature a new west-side structure that measures out at approximately 250,000 square feet.
“No state or university tuition dollars will be used in this construction,” Currie said. “Also, this will generate significant future income that can be invested in the athletics programs.”
K-State recently received its largest donation for the project -—a $5-million pledge from an anonymous donor. In addition, the 40 premium suites being built on the west side have already sold out. With more than 50 percent of the money required already secured, Currie said he and the administration were comfortable moving ahead and beginning construction.
“We would not be making this step forward if we did not feel like there was enough momentum from our fundraising team and the donors who have expressed interest in the project in moving forward,” Currie said. “It is our expectation that we will fully raise all the dollars for the project. But we’re utilizing some bond funding, which has already been secured in order to do the project now.”
Currie said the timing of the construction makes a lot of sense fiscally.
“This is a really, really good time to build,” he said. “If you look back in the terms of cost of construction right now comparatively over the last 10 years, it’s very, very competitive. The cost of financing may be all-time historically competitive. We really felt like we needed to seize the opportunity and be appropriately aggressive to move this thing forward.”
The project will include the aforementioned premium suites, new club and loge seats along with a new level for the media. A Hall of Honor will be built for fans to walk through in what will be a larger concourse area of approximately amount square feet. The number of restrooms on the west side will more than double the current number that exist, while the concession points of sale will more than triple in quantity.
And a dining hall, also known as a training table, will be constructed and will be available for every student athlete at K-State to utilize.
“When I arrived in Manhattan and asked coach (Bill) Snyder what he needed from me, he told me he needed a full stadium and he needed a training table,” Currie said. ” Thus, our world-class student-athlete experience will also be enhanced with a student athlete dining hall in the West Stadium Center to serve all of our student athletes and athletics teams.”
Due to construction, the overall capacity of Bill Snyder Family Stadium will decrease by approximately 1,000 seats this season.
Season ticket sales
well ahead of last year
K-State has sold 4,000 more season tickets for the upcoming football season compared to this time last year.
“We believe we are tracking toward having a capacity season from a crowd standpoint and could very well sell out all the games of our season this fall,” Currie said.
Momentum not slowed by Martin’s departure
Even though there may be some disgruntled fans due to the departure of former men’s basketball coach Frank Martin, Currie said the donations have not stopped pouring in.
“It hasn’t impacted our momentum at all,” he said. “We’ve already raised more money this year than we raised all of last year, which was a record-setting year. We’re tracking very, very well.”
Basketball facility on schedule
Currie said the basketball training facility, an $18 million project, should be completed by July or August.
“It is going very, very well,” he said.
Other facility upgrades
on the way
K-State is expected to build new outdoor tennis courts this summer. Currie said a new indoor training facility for the rowing team will be constructed as well.
Cats to open 2013 with three home games
K-State will showcase the new west side of the stadium with three straight home games to begin the 2013 football season. Currie said the Wildcats will play North Dakota State, Louisiana and another opponent that is close to being finalized.