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K-State unveils next phase of stadium construction

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, April 26, 2014, at 6:38 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, April 27, 2014, at 8:42 a.m.

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— Kansas State publicly unveiled plans for a $65 million renovation to the north end of Snyder Family Stadium at its spring football game Saturday.

The renovation will more than double the Wildcats’ current football complex and enclose the stadium. It will also add 1,000 seats behind the stadium’s north end zone as well as video boards to the northeast and northwest corners.

The privately funded project was originally expected to cost $50 million, but that amount grew during the planning process. K-State athletic director John Currie said roughly 70 percent of the funds needed for the renovation have been raised.

“This is a day that has been a long time in coming,” K-State athletic director John Currie said. “It’s a huge step forward for us.”

K-State will break ground on the project immediately after K-State plays its final home game of the 2014 season against Kansas on Nov. 29. Most of the construction will be done in time for the 2015 home opener, but portions of the northeast section and video board will not be completed until 2016.

Those delays will impact locker rooms for visiting teams and officials, but Currie said K-State is developing temporary accommodations that he said will be an improvement over what they currently use.

The project will benefit both student-athletes and fans.

For K-State football players, the main perks will be an expanded weight room, a new locker room, larger meeting areas and more video rooms. Other highlights include improved offices for coaches and a larger academic center.

Additional seating, improved sight lines and convenient access to restrooms will improve the fan experience.

K-State football coach Bill Snyder said he looked forward to the new facility, mainly because having everything the football program needs in one location will be convenient for players.

“It will be an improvement to the structure that we have,” Snyder said. “… We have managed to make it a very efficient structure.”

One drawback to the renovation is that it will cause relocation issues for the football team as it prepares for its final regular season game at Baylor the following week and a possible bowl game. Construction plans call for K-State’s current football complex to be demolished.

Coaches will work out of the West Stadium Center while the new structure is built. That is also where students will meet with tutors and study. The weight room will be moved to Bramlage Coliseum during the summer. K-State’s indoor facility will also be used more regularly.

“I think we can manage all that,” Currie said. “It is going to be a transition, but it is short-term pain and long-term gain.”

The $65 million expansion a wave of other facility improvements that have totaled $125 million, including the West Stadium Center, a new rowing center and a basketball training facility.

Currie thinks this project will be as important as each of them.

“I think it is a huge step forward,” Currie said. “If you look at the way we have built the complex over the last couple years we are starting to get close to looking like what Coach Snyder has built the program into.”

Reach Kellis Robinett at krobinett@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @kellisrobinett.

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