VIDEO: Dan Mullen
Mississippi State has announced details of its expansion of Davis Wade Stadium, including the actual cost, the exact number of seats to be added, and the addition of several amenities, including a new high-definition video board.
The work will cost MSU $75 million, with $68 million coming from bonds and the other $7 million from private gifts. The school had originally received approval from the state's Institutions of Higher Learning to take out $82 million in bonds.
The capacity of Davis Wade will go from 55,082 to 61,337 – that's a net gain of 6,255 seats. The work is focused on the north end of the stadium, where bleacher seating currently exists. The new arrangement – which will feature 8,815 new seats after some old ones are taken out – will have 7,076 grandstand seats, 1,155 Scoreboard Club seats, 236 loge seats, 22 tradition suites totally approximately 288 seats, and 60 field-level suites.
MSU officials stressed that the expansion was strictly based on demand. MSU has sold out 16 consecutive home games and has a waiting list for season tickets.
"When you see a fan base that's as excited and the number of season tickets they're purchasing and the demand for premium seats and suites and boxes and so forth, it's exciting that we're able to help meet their needs," MSU president Mark Keenum said.
There will also be a non-seated, field-level premium area in the north end zone. It's called The Gridiron and will provide "club-like ameneties to any season ticket holder who buys a membership, regardless of that person's stadium seat location," a school press release said.
The renovations will be complete before the 2014 season opener, and the stadium will be "re-seated" prior to that season based on Bulldog Club priority points.
The construction project has been awarded ot Harrell Contracting Group of Jackson. The company won the project in a university sealed bid process.
The old video board on the north end of the stadium will be replaced by a new HD board "similar in size" to the one in the south end zone. That board is one of the largest in the country.
"It's exciting to finally stand up and say, hey, this is happening, it's going to happen immediately, and then show people the impact it's going to make," athletics director Scott Stricklin said.
The concourse under the west stands is also being rebuilt, and there will be four new high-capacity elevators. Also on the the west side, a brick facade will be constructed to match the new construction on the north side. There will be more restrooms and concession areas as well.