Troy unveils $24M stadium expansion
11 November 2016
With the 7-1 Troy Trojans on the verge of a national ranking, the university on Thursday announced plans to move forward with a $24 million upgrade that will enclose the team’s football stadium.
It’s a change that that second-year head coach Neal Brown called “crucial” to the program’s national aspirations in the years ahead.
“We want to be in that discussion for getting that New Year’s Day bowl bid,” Brown said. “For that to happen, this facility has to happen.”
Troy hosts 7-2 Appalachian State at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, a battle between teams with the two best records in the Sun Belt Conference. About a half-hour before that game, it will have a groundbreaking for the new north end zone facility that will include 402 club-level seats, a terrace space, a high-level concessions area and a 35-foot by 90-foot video board. They plan to finish it in time for a home game against Boise State on Sept. 1, 2018.
The university has publicly discussed plans for some form of stadium expansion since 2010. The current project looks a lot different from earlier plans, some of which called for the demolition of Tine Davis Field House. Under the new plan, the current field house will connect to the new facility.
Troy athletic director Jeremy McClain said it would be tough to pack more positive energy into one week. The Trojans, whose only loss was a six-point defeat at Clemson early in the season, got 28 points in the AP Top 25 in this week’s college football poll. The only unranked teams with more were San Diego State, Arkansas and Southern California.
“I do hear our name being mentioned on a national stage,” McClain said. “That’s exciting.”
Brown said the reason the team is playing well this year is because players like quarterback Brandon Silvers and running back Jordan Chunn are among the best in the conference. He said they’ve been using renderings of the new facility to recruit players for his two years as head coach, and having the facility under construction will help the Trojans keep up their recruiting momentum.
Once it’s finished, he expects it to change the dynamic at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“It’s gonna be loud because now we’re going to be bowled in,” Brown said. “The jumbotron is going to add another piece for the fans.”
A lot will be going on inside the facility when it's not game day. Plans include a first-floor strength and conditioning area and nutrition station; a second floor locker room, sports medicine facility, team lounge and pool; and a third floor filled with coaches’ offices, meeting rooms, video services and a recruiting lounge. The administration will remain at the current field house.
Troy officials cheered former head coach Larry Blakeney, who sat in the front row for the announcement, and praised his influence on the program. Brown was one of those offering praise.
“His vision is what’s gotten us to this day,” Brown said. “But we’ve also got to understand what we have to do to take that next step.”