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|Welcome to TSLMail #74 - Friday, April 11, 2003||
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|Tech Sports News|
Lane Stadium Expansion Update
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com
A look at our traffic statistics shows that a lot of you are checking out our Lane Stadium Expansion page for info on ... well, Lane Stadium expansion.
There's only one problem: until today, the page has been horribly out of date.
The latest development in Lane Stadium expansion (more on that in a moment) occurred late last August, right after the season-opening Arkansas State game. With the season in swing, maintaining our expansion info page fell to the back burner, and later on, when recruiting kicked in, it fell off the stove completely.
So, let's bring you up to speed. As you know, the North end zone and South end zone expansion projects are both complete, bringing Lane Stadium's listed capacity to 65,115.
In summer of 2001, VT rolled out their plan for west (press box) side expansion -- opening the way to numerous clever "West Side Story" jokes -- and that plan included a greatly expanded press box area, plus luxury suites, in a massive eight-story structure that would span the entire west side of the stadium from end to end. The new expansion would include stadium clubs, 36 luxury boxes, and 180 indoor club seats. Plus, an existing 1,650 existing outside chairback seats would be converted to "club seats" that would remain outdoors, but would have access to the stadium clubs.
The luxury boxes would rent for $47,000 per year, and the indoor and outdoor stadium club seats would come with yearly "gift" requirements if you wanted to snag yourself one of those. The "gift" on the South End zone equivalents ranges from $500 to $750, and it was anticipated that the west side club seats would require an annual "gift" larger than that, particularly the indoor seats. A figure quoted in a November 2001 Roanoke Times article was $2700 per seat -- steep.
That west side expansion was going to cost $45.8 million, and it required a single donor to drop $20 to $25 million in one fell swoop by November 1st, 2001 to get the fundraising going.
With the stock market in the tank and the recession in gear, that donor, corporate or private, never stepped forward, so in November of 2001, VT administrators proposed a change that would drop the number of luxury boxes from 36 to 18, but would increase the number of indoor club seats from 180 to 1,026.
This would create greater cash flow, because the extra 846 club seats would generate more revenue than the 18 lost luxury boxes -- as much as $1.4 million more, because the club seats were quoted in 2001 as carrying an annual gift requirement of $2700. 846 x $2700 = $2.28 million, more than 18 luxury boxes at $47,000 would generate ($846,000).
Clear as mud? Thought so -- here's a table:
The increased cash flow would allow VT to finance more of the cost of the expansion, and therefore raise less in donations -- get the picture?
The new expansion model was eventually approved in August of 2002, with 800 indoor club seats, instead of 1,026, but otherwise intact, at a cost of $47.8 million, just a smidge more than the previous $45.8 million figure for the old design.
So that's it, let's go, right? Not yet. VT continues to tinker with alternate designs, which include adding rows of seats upon the top of the west stands -- as many as 10 to 22 more rows of seats.
In a March 3rd, 2003 Hokie Hotline appearance, VT Athletic Director Jim Weaver said that VT was looking at three different expansion scenarios:
1.) Renovate the existing press box and build two additional "towers", one each towards the North and South ends. Cost: $47.8 million. (This is the currently approved plan.)
2.) Large expansion version: Add 22 new rows on the top of the West Side stands, plus two new floors on the press box. Cost: $72-$75 million. (No other details given.)
3.) Smaller version of option 2: Add 10 or 11 rows and put two more levels on the press box, stretching from North to South along the top of the West stands. Cost: $62-$65 million. (No other details given.)
The athletic department was supposed to meet with the architects one more time in March, get some questions answered and tweak the designs a little more (no word on whether or not the meeting happened).
The earliest VT would start construction would be if they went with the current expansion model, which is option (1) and is already approved. Construction could start as soon as the end of the 2003 football season and be finished in time for the 2005 football season.
Weaver said he was confident the west side will be expanded, he's just not sure how, and he hopes the decision will be made by the end of April 2003.
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|TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week|
Welcome to Virginia Tech, Seth
Recaps, Scrimmages 2 and 3
Oh, the Places They'll Go
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