TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Brick by brick, the construction surrounding Doak Campbell Stadium is coming together.
In fact, its those bricks that may be among the most exciting recent developments.
With progress on the stadium moving briskly, crews have built up the brick façade surrounding the new Champions Club in the stadium’s south end zone, and the results make it look less like a construction site and more like a natural extension of one of the country’s most iconic brick structures.
“They have a test well of different bricks to match the (original) bricks,” said Jerry Kutz, the Senior Vice President for Capital Campaigns and Projects at Seminole Boosters, Inc. “Because bricks built back when the stadium was built, you can’t buy anymore. So they went to great lengths to match it up. And they did a great job.”
The new bricks are obvious to anyone outside the stadium, but the progress made inside the stadium is just as dramatic.
As recently as a few months ago, the Champions Club was a fresh slab of concrete that opened straight into the stadium bowl.
Now, the space is enclosed by floor-to-ceiling windows, and the framework for kitchens, restrooms and an oversized sports bar are all easy to spot.
So are the spaces where the dozens of high-definition TVs will hang from the walls.
“We’re right on schedule, excited about that,” Kutz said. “We’re completely dried in now, so we can work nights if we have to. … We’re very excited about where we’re at.”
Some of the most anticipated progress is slated to happen in the coming weeks.
First, the rooftop terrace that will extend from the top of the Champions Club’s outdoor pavilion is slated to be installed in June.
Then, in mid-July, more than 5,000 cushioned, garnet and gold seats will be installed in a pattern that is unique to FSU.
“That’s going to be very dramatic,” Kutz said. “We’re starting to put out this pattern of garnet and gold and you look at it and you say, ‘That’s Florida State University.’”
The upgrades and enhancements inside Doak Campbell Stadium extend far beyond the Champions Club.
Most obviously, construction crews are in the process of removing the stadium’s north end zone scoreboard to make way for a new, jumbo-sized board that’s more than doubles the size of its predecessor.
FSU’s current scoreboard, installed in 2008, stands 28 feet high. The new one rises to 63 feet.
“In terms of height, it will be the tallest videoboard structure in college football,” said Jason Dennard, FSU’s assistant athletics director for marketing. “All elements are high-definition, from the pixels that people will see on the screen to the cameras that are shooting the content.”
The new board will of course be able to display the on-field action with pristine clarity, but the extra real estate also affords dedicated spaces for statistics, game situations and scores from around the country.
All of the ribbon boards surrounding the stadium are set to be replaced with high-definition versions, too.
“The thing that we hear the most from people is we compete with HD television,” Dennard said. “Well, we’re going to have an HD television that is bigger than any one you can see in any home, restaurant or sports bar. The picture quality is going to be impeccable. You’re not going to be able to get a better picture.”
Or better sound quality. Also on deck for this summer are improvements to the stadium’s sound system that will allow for consistent clarity and levels regardless of where fans are seated.
“The capabilities of the system will be a lot more than what you need for football,” Dennard said.
Finally, crews continue to overhaul the bleachers in the stadium’s main bowl, with water blasting and fresh paint set to cover 400,000 square feet of surface area.
Restrooms along the stadium concourse are scheduled to be refreshed as well.
“I think enhancing the fan experience is very important, with how TV is today,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “I think it’s very important for places to enhance that atmosphere.
“And there’s nothing like being at a game, I don’t care. You can sit back and watch (on TV) but to be able to bring your kids and experience that whole thing, I think it’s great for fans.”
Ticket sales for the Champions Club are ahead of schedule, although seats are still available.
Seminole Boosters, Inc., is also offering three-game packages to Champions Club members, Seminole Boosters and University Center Club members.
The packages include the choice of either the Clemson or Florida game, as well as the choice of two from Charleston Southern, North Carolina, Wake Forest and Boston College.
Tickets are available at Seminoles.com, or by calling 850-644-3484.