Dawgs vs Cougs: The Washington Stadium Renovation Evolution

 

Martin Stadium and Husky Stadium were two of the least innovative stadiums in the Pac-10 a couple of years ago, but with the new Pac-12 agreement in place and an influx at both universities in donor support, they are on schedule to now be two of the finest stadiums in the Conference. Either fan base cannot help but to be excited for what the upgrades mean to their campus and each school’s recruiting wars, not to mention what it means for the communities and fans attending games on Saturdays. Both stadiums have come an incredibly long way since the end of the 2011 season, when the demolition derby began on the venues.

WSU has actually been in a continuous state of renovations for about 4 years now, upgrading concourses, field turf, scoreboards and practice facilities. Not only that, but Bill Moos and the athletic dept. are going to be on the case pushing for another phase of the project to get done after the 2012 season, which will be the addition of a football operations facility behind the new pressbox and around the southwest corner and west endzone. The hope is that a plan could be in place to have that finished by the 2013 season, but there is a chance that even if it got started right after this season it wouldn’t be complete by then due to the size of the structure. This of course would extend the project through the 2013 season and be completed by 2014. There have been rumors that some additional expansion would be done after that but nothing substantial as of yet.

UW has been in the talking stages, trying to figure out exactly what to do with the stadium before it was agreed on to scrap most of it and rebuild, themselves adding a football operations facility into the structure. Unlike Martin though, the UW has decided to just go ahead and do it all at once, mostly due to the unsafe conditions of the base of the structure and the fact that the entire inside bowl is being scrapped and replaced. Also, the fact that they have a nice alternative at Seahawks Stadium right across the street allows them the luxury of time. Let’s go inside the renovations:

Martin Stadium (Martinstadium.org):

The proposed renovation of Martin Stadium consists of two separate projects. The first project, called the Southside Project, would replace the old press box on the south stands with a new structure that includes a new press box, club seats, loge boxes, luxury suites and a club room.  The second project, called the West End-Zone Project, would provide a home for the Cougar football program, including new weight, lock, equipment and training rooms for players, in addition to meeting rooms and coaches’ offices.  It will also feature a WSU Football heritage area and a game-day home for Gray W former letter winners.

By making these improvements to the Martin Stadium facility, it will be possible to increase the recruiting potential for Washington State University Intercollegiate Athletics.  These improvements will bring the stadium into a more competitive status in the PAC 12.  The game day experience will be enhanced for both fans and players.  Improvements to the football program facilities will also ensure better conditioning and training for the players.  The existing facility falls far short of this goal.

Husky Stadium (Huskystadium.com):

What’s changing:

  • Premium seating program with luxury suites, patio suites and Club Husky
  • Track removed and the field lowered (4 feet) and shifted north (about 7 feet) to optimize seat values and sightlines
  • Football operations support building housing locker rooms, weight rooms, team meeting rooms, recruiting lounges, player lounges and coaches offices integrated into the west end zone
  • Complete demolition and reconstruction of the lower bowl and the south side stands
  • Renovation of the Don James Center that will maintain current seating capacity of 560
  • 200-stall parking garage constructed below the south bowl and stands
  • Permanent east end zone seating
  • Large landscaped plazas and grounds with no perimeter fencing

What’s not changing:

  • The unique acoustics of the stadium with its cantilever roofs that traps noise and for decades has made Husky Stadium one of the loudest and most intimidating experiences in college football.
  • The breathtakingly Northwest setting on the shores of Lake Washington, with views of the snow-capped Cascade mountains, the Olympic mountains and downtown Seattle visible from the north upper deck.
  • The pride and excitement Husky fans feel while inside Husky Stadium.

With the likes of Oregon, Cal, OSU, ASU, Arizona and Stanford receiving or having received some sort of stadium overhaul in the past decade,(you can get some sense of each here on wsufootballblog) it has been high priority that our state get back to competing in the Pac. Sarkisian and Leach have played no small part in these WA venues getting the majestic overhauls they deserve, as each has brought an overwhelmingly positive reaction from their fan base. Sark’s been steadily building the Huskies back onto the national stage, while Leach’s hiring gives the Cougs instant notoriety throughout the country. The Seattle game being reinstated for our home series’ vs the Oregon schools for seasons to come was also a priority for WSU and Bill Moos, as it will capture our Seattle base even more as the years pass.

With these upgrades both of the schools are winners! I have been to Husky Stadium only once to watch Idaho play UW back in 2005 or 2006 and it was a structure in desperate need of repair. Then of course being around Martin forever and receiving minor upgrades over these past few years has been nice to see, but the new additions are really gorgeous (even 2 months from being complete) and overdue. I simply can’t wait to see a game in both of these stadiums and plan on attending the first Apple Cup Game in each after their renovations.

Go Cougs!

 

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Tags: Bill Moos Martin Stadium Renovation Mike Leach Steve Sarkisian Washington Football

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