Almost immediately following the last home game of the 2014 season, the first step of renovating Jones AT&T Stadium began. The seats and bleachers were ripped out of the stadium.
According to the Texas Tech Athletics website, the seats had been installed in the stadium and untouched since 1959.
For next football season, the location of seats and bleachers in the stadium will remain in the same sections, Assistant Director of Athletics Matt Dowdy said. Because the project is only upgrading the seating, the capacity of Jones AT&T Stadium will remain the same at 60,454, according to the Tech Athletics website.
After being empty for months, the stadium’s new bleachers and seats are being installed now, Associate Athletic Director of Facilities and Operations Mike Ryan said.
Ryan has been overseeing the stadium seating renovations.
“There’s a couple different things going on out there. Construction folks are working in front of the seating people. They are patching concrete and putting sealant down around the stadium,” he said. “The bleacher folks in coming in behind them and putting the bleachers in. Then, separately another company, American Seating, is coming in behind them and putting in the seats.”
Because the construction is so far along now, all three crews can work on sealant, seats and bleachers simultaneously now.
The 2015 football season kickoff is quickly approaching for the crews. Tech will open its season against Sam Houston State on Sept. 5 at Jones AT&T Stadium.
The athletics department hopes to have construction done weeks before this.
“Our target date is August 1,” Ryan said. “We are hopeful that everything will be completed by August 1 but we did leave ourselves a little bit of a buffer just to make sure everything is finished and the stadium is up to par.”
Once the renovations are done, the total cost of the seating project will be $3.9 million, Dowdy said.
One of the goals with the new bleachers is that they will not break off in the student section during a capacity home game. Ryan said the bleachers have coming off for years and the new ones are expected to be stronger.
Since all the seats were removed from the stadium, there was no open practice or spring game for fans in Lubbock to see.
An event to make up for this is in planning stages, but nothing has been made official yet.
“Our promotions people and our football program have talked about that,” Ryan said. “We really wanted to be sure that the stadium is fully finished. With all the rain we’ve had and the flooding issues, we are a little cautious. We don’t want people in the stadium if it’s not completely finished. So we have talked about it, but nothing has been set.”