On the week of Christmas, Texas Tech athletics gets to sleep on the exciting thought of $16 million in new presents at Jones AT&T Stadium.
That’s the total cost of a new video scoreboard, 368 new seats, a colonnade and a concourse expansion — two projects rolled into one that will enhance the north end of the stadium next season.
Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt already is thinking ahead to the next step.
All the new projects for 2013 are being built over and around the Athletic Ticket Office building, whose function could soon change. Before the 2014 season, Hocutt said he’d like to see that building turned into another stadium club with a built-out area fronting it.
“Over that walkway, we would put in approximately 500-something club seats there,” he said. “Then we’d repurpose this (ticket office) building into a club space.”
Hocutt calls that idea “phase two.” And he cautions it’s only that, an idea.
“It’s a concept right now that we have on the drawing board,” he said. “My goal would be to continue to move this along where we could achieve it prior to the 2014 season. There’s a lot of steps and a lot of approval, obviously, that we have to go through. But that’s what we’re thinking.”
Hocutt said the concept is similar to what TCU did as part of its $164 million redevelopment of Amon Carter Stadium.
“They had an indoor club-level space in their end zone,” he said. “That’s a similar concept here.”
The Athletic Ticket Office also houses the athletic business office and Lettermen’s Lounge.
The ticket office personnel are moving into new offices in the Jones AT&T Stadium west stadium building in January. At some point in the future, there’s a plan in place for those who office in the south end of Jones AT&T Stadium to move into the east stadium building that opened in 2010.
The east stadium building was constructed with room on the second and third levels for administration offices.
Whenever that move takes place, it would free up new uses for the south-end building.
“That allows us to think big picture what we want to do with the south end zone and how we want to repurpose this space,” Hocutt said as he stood in his office in the south-end building. “Is it event-level space? Is it letterwinners’ space? Is it Hall of Honor, (Hall of) Legacy, Hall of Fame-type space? Is it premium-seating space, or is it a combination of all those things?”
The only stadium projects nailed down now are the two the Tech System Board of Regents approved recently for this offseason. Tech will install a high-definition video scoreboard that’s 38 feet tall and 100 feet wide, with an accompanying sound system and ribbon boards. That $11 million job was approved in August.
Construction also will start soon on a Spanish Renaissance-style, 11-column colonnade, the 368 infill seats and the concourse expansion. That’s a $5 million project that regents OKed in mid-December.
On game days in the recent past, the only way to walk from the west side of the stadium to the east side or vice versa was along the south or field side of the Athletic Ticket Office. Expanding the concourse will allow foot traffic on both sides of the building, Tech spokesman Blayne Beal said.
“We’re going to bring the concourse of the north end zone back toward the sidewalk beside Marsha Sharp (Freeway),” Hocutt said. “So once you get in the stadium, you’ll be able to congregate. You’ll be able to ... go around the concourse there, behind the building. It’s going to create a much more spacious event.”
Hocutt said the two projects will improve the game-day experience next season.
“You’ll get the bowled-in effect from the new seats, the columns in the back and the new scoreboard structure,” he said. “It’s going to be a beautiful addition.”
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