A $55-milion plan for Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium upgrades is officially a go, as the University of Louisville Athletic Association approves the expansion plan after strong presales of field-level suites.
About $20 million has already been raised toward the expansion, which includes the presale of all 12 field-level suites. With that level of commitment, the school is moving ahead with the expansion, issuing an RFP and tentatively looking at a construction launch at the end of the 2016 season. From the Louisville Courier-Journal:
“We’re excited that we’re at this point already,” Jurich said Thursday. “I didn’t think it would be until early next year that we’d be at this point requesting an RFP, but it’s good news for us. I’d like to get this project going as soon as possible, and we think so much of our support and our fans and everybody who really jumped on it. The project has much more momentum than I ever dreamed of.”
Jurich has said that he would like to have the stadium expansion – an enclosure of the north end zone – ready for the 2019 season opener against Notre Dame, though the 2018 opener is also “a great goal to shoot for.”
Jurich said Thursday there can be no set timetable on when construction can begin until “we see how the numbers are” with the RFP process and U of L’s ongoing fundraising, “but I want to make sure we have the opportunity to get started. … Maybe as soon as football’s over, then work through the winter and the spring and the summer. Then hopefully the next (football) year we can slow it back down a little bit so that the team can take the field.”
About 10,000 additional seats will be added with the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium upgrades, creating a unique look in the end zone structure for the stadium and increasing the total seating capacity to approximately 65,000. The expansion will include 1,000 modern club seats, 65 new premium loge level boxes, and 10 exclusive field level suites, while adding 25,000 distinct square feet of space. The club seats will have access to a premier gathering area that will provide viewing access to the field. The middle of the field level will feature a special entrance for the team surrounded by supporters.
The design will provide a connection between the east and west sides of the stadium. The stadium seating will continue to feature all chairback seating for fans, providing the only university-owned and operated stadium in the nation with that element.
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