Updated Neyland renovation project clears first hurdle
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An updated $180 million first phase of renovation for Neyland Stadium has received preliminary approval from the Tennessee Board of Trustees’ athletics committee, which puts the proposal before the full board.
The full board will consider the project Friday. Even if it clears the full board, the project still must receive approval from the state’s building commission before improvements can begin on the Volunteers’ 102,455-seat home football stadium.
Tennessee athletic director John Currie said the state’s building commission likely would consider the project around early December. Currie would like the first phase of the renovation to begin next year.
The board of trustees and the state building commission already had approved a $106 million first phase of construction for what at the time was a three-phase project totaling $350.5 million.
Planners since have altered the renovation to a two-phase project totaling $340 million, with the first phase costing $180 million.
Only the first phase of construction is up for debate now. The second phase will be discussed later.
The renovation would be funded by donations, the athletic department’s operating revenue, corporate partners and budgeted debt service.
The first phase of the renovation initially included shifting a back wall to create more space between the playing surface and any physical boundaries as a safety measure. Other additions involved widening concourses, adding entry towers on the stadium’s southeast and southwest sides and relocating the visitors’ locker room.
That first phase has since expanded to include the widening of two more concourses, the addition of entry plazas, the installation of a kitchen and commissary for on-site catering, the construction of suites on the southwest side of the stadium and the addition of a storm waterline under the field.
Planners hope to have both phases of the construction finished by 2021, when Neyland Stadium celebrates its 100th anniversary. Currie said planners intend to make sure the stadium’s capacity remains at least 100,000 after the renovation.
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