Another big college project to add to the list: The University of Tennessee is moving forward with a $340-million Neyland Stadium renovation plans, on hold for several years.
Yesterday we wrote about the trend of end-zone upgrades in college stadiums, focusing on the unveiling of two notable projects — Rice-Eccles Stadium and DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium — this football season. Although the south end zone of Neyland Stadium was closed off decades ago, the spirit of the plan passed yesterday by the UT board of trustees athletics committee is the same as we’re seeing with these other high-profile projects. The full Board of Trustees must also approve the plan, as well as a state facilities commission.
We wrote about the last iteration of the plan here when unveiled in 2019, and since then the project has expanded in nature and cut down to a two-year construction plan, with a cost of $180 million for Phase I and $340 million for the overall project. Contributions and increased revenues will fund the project, according to UT officials; ticket prices will not rise to pay for the construction.
The plan has changed since the last time we reported on the project, per the Knoxville News:
UT plans to create a premium experience on the lower west side of Neyland Stadium behind the Tennessee bench. The other plan has two parts — adding a north end zone video board and creating a standing room only area under the video board. [Athletic Director Danny] White envisions the area being like a sports bar that is “aimed at a younger demographic.”
Both projects are expected to be completed prior to the 2022 season. The two upgrades were already “in the queue,” White said, and he expects both to be revenue-producing changes.
“There’s a lot of updating, which is financially a challenge,” White said to Knox News in June. “But it also is an opportunity for us to take this iconic sports venue and put our own unique spin on it and bring together a modern experience while also protecting the storied history of Neyland Stadium.”
RELATED STORIES: Updated Neyland Stadium Renovation Plans Unveiled; Tennessee Holding Off on Neyland Stadium Renovations; Neyland Stadium Renovation Could Begin Summer 2018; Fan Experience at Neyland Stadium a Priority for Tennessee