There it is: Bill Snyder’s palace, the stately, imposing new West Stadium Center, in all its limestone glory.
During a tour Friday with K-State Athletics Director John Currie, workers were still hurrying to put the finishing touches on the building, moving furniture, hooking up video equipment and adding a powercat here and there. But essentially, the structure is finished.
The firm managing the project, AECOM, announced Thursday that construction was officially complete. All that’s left now is for fans to fill it and enjoy a day of football.
And they ought to. Most of the changes are geared toward a better fan experience.
A wider concourse means less traffic for fans, while touch-screen TVs and a K-State Athletics Hall of Fame give them something to do while they’re there. New terraces and patios offer more places for fans to gather and provide a railing with a shelf to set your nachos and pop. And luxury seats and suites are, naturally, more luxurious.
Currie said he sees the stadium as a showpiece for K-State — a shining example for visitors and prospective students.
“It says, ‘This is who we are. This is what our campus is like,’” Currie said.
And while he acknowledges that Bill Snyder Family Stadium is not as big as some stadiums, he said that for its size and what it contains, he thinks its the best-looking facility in the country.
“We’ve certainly elevated ourselves,” Currie said. “Now it’s not as ostentatious as some. But for who we are and what we want to be — a championship, first-class athletics program — we’ve made a huge step forward.”
Currie said he likes how the concourse provides a hall of fame atmosphere in an efficient manner.
“You go to a standalone hall of fame building, and it’s not going to get used very much,” Currie said. “Here, you’ve got 50,000 people at all those games coming through who are going to see it.”
The renovation more than doubled the number of bathrooms in an effort to reduce lines. It also added a lactation room and improved ADA seating designed to keep fans who use wheelchairs from feeling isolated.
Many of the components of the facility, including the sports information offices, the K-State Super Store and the ticket office, will be used year-round or keep regular hours.
Another centerpiece of the West Stadium Center is the student athlete training table, a bright, modern cafeteria for all of K-State’s athletes. They’ll be able to have dinner there Sunday through Thursday throughout the school year. It will include grab-and-go foods as well as a buffet to accommodate various diets.