You should go to the joint meetings of the Finance and Audit Committee/Buildings and Grounds Committee where they discuss the stadium. They are open to the public by law, and you could scoop the papers on the new stadium developments. The next one is August 26.
Today, Jim Weaver presented a second proposal for the West Side Expansion. This one would include an additional 5,000 seats, bringing capacity to 70,000 when complete for the 2005 season. It would remove the existing press box and add another 18 rows of seats, plus some new seats where the old press box currently infringes upon the current bowl shape. He believes they may have underestimated the demand for seats, as there are only about another 1,000 season tickets available, and they have only gone on sale to the general public today. More than 4,000 additional season seats had been sold to contributors as of late last week. All but 89 club seats are sold. Ten of 15 boxes are sold, with three more strong prospects.
The original proposal would have topped out seating at somewhere around 65,000.
Jim did not ask the committee to approve the new plan. He asked for another 2+ months to study the financial and physical parameters of the new proposal. More available seats would reduce the fundraising demands for the project and allow VT to finance more through debt. Still, they will need to raise approximately 15 million beginning in July 2003. There is 3 million left to be raised for the south end zone (of the 15 million total).
The new concept also looks much more symmetrical. It would still be the same height as the East side, but the additional seats and consistent look always across the stadium for the press/luxury boxes would make the two sides look like they were part of one original design. Much more study is needed to determine if the existing press box can be retained through the 2004 season, halfway through construction, before being razed. The outside of the new concept is unchanged from the original expansion design.
Weaver will come back to the committee at the August meeting with a recommendation in hand. Planning and bid selection would then last 10 months, with construction starting in December 2003, and lasting until summer 2005. I expect Jim will recommend the more recent design, barring unforeseen problems.
Feel free to share this, as it is public information, and there were tons of folks and press at the meeting. But, I do not want it attributed to me.