By MICHAEL WARDLAW
It has been talked about for over a year and dreamt about considerably longer. On Wednesday the dream of expanding Davis Wade Stadium took the final step toward becoming a reality with the official announcement of $75 million expansion.
Mississippi State Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin addressed a crowd of State fans along the 50-yard line from the current club level on the east side of the stadium. Expressing his jubilation with the final piece of the puzzle falling into place, Stricklin announced the Harrell Contracting Group of Jackson would lead the project which would increase seating capacity to 61,337 and is projected to be completed prior to the opening of the 2014 season.
“Today’s announcement of our stadium expansion is just a natural progression of our university’s continued support of our football program here at Mississippi State,” MSU President Mark Keenum said. “This leads to an exciting gameday experience for so many of our alumni and fans. This expansion will allow us to be even more competitive in this very competitive league.”
When the process began the MSU brain trust had three goals in mind. First, they must increase seating capacity, and with 6,255 additional seats they satisfy step one. Second, they wanted to increase the overall fan experience. In order to address this area MSU will add a new club-level, 236 loge seats, field-level suites, renovations of the existing West side of the stadium and a second video board nearing the size of the existing board.
“The video board we put in three years ago has had such a huge impact on the gameday atmosphere,” Stricklin said. “We still have some people on the south end of stadium that don’t have a great view. Well we wanted to make sure they had something great to look at in the north end zone.”
Lastly, MSU wanted to improve the aesthetics of Davis Wade Stadium. This area will be addressed with a timeless, red-brick facade.
The design ties the nation’s second oldest stadium into its campus surrounding with a classic design.
The project will be paid for with $68 million in bonds, with the remaining $7 million coming from private donations.
Construction, which is expected to begin immediately, will not impact seating capacity this season.
State fans can contact the Bulldog Club for information concerning the purchase of suits and other amenities.