The ASU football team unveiled new uniforms in 2011, a new era under a new coach in 2012 and in a few years, a renovated Sun Devil Stadium.
“It shows our commitment here,” coach Todd Graham said. “We want this program to be about winning championships … This facility is going to be one that enhances recruiting big time.”
While there are numerous changes that will take place during the renovation process such as seating capacity and field turf, the most prominent change is the shading system that will cover the stadium.
Tony Jackson, an ASU fan since he arrived as a student in 1994, strongly believes the shading system is necessary.
“One of the biggest issues with Sun Devil Stadium is the lack of shading in the early part of the season,” Jackson said. “It gets incredibly hot in there with little relief for anyone.”
The fabric roof will be fixed, but the stadium will still have an open-air environment and feel.
“It would still be an open-air stadium,” Athletics Director Steve Patterson said. “We would have the north end zone open looking back toward (the) Carson (Center).”
Patterson has been working on stadium plans since he was hired nine months ago, but the majority of the intricate details are not yet finalized. The athletics department has yet to reveal an estimated cost, although reports have said it will cost around $300 million. Patterson hopes to have a plan of finance in place around June.
While Patterson acknowledged a reduced seating capacity is likely, a number has not been set.
“We probably don’t need as many seats as we really have out there,” Patterson said. “We think it could be in the 55,000 to 60,000 seat range.”
The reduced seats will help the Sun Devil’s athletic department upgrade the amenities and make the fan experience better as a whole. There will be more leg room and the possibility of fixed seats instead of benches is being discussed.
Although less seating affects all ASU football fans, Patterson and Graham both mentioned the importance of the student section and want to maintain support from the student body.
“It’s exciting for our students,” Graham said. “I’m looking to grow that student section, that’s what dominates game day. This venue for our fans, for the media, for our students, for our players, for our future players, this is going to be built in a way that’s going to honor our past and have the great tradition of our football program displayed in the stadium.”
Although they will not have the opportunity to play in the renovated Sun Devil Stadium, the current football team was shown the renderings Tuesday night and was just as excited as Graham and Patterson.
“I’m sad I can’t play in it, but I’ll definitely come back to check out the games and check out the renovations as they go,” senior running back Cameron Marshall said. “If you’re going to be great, what better way to start than to get the best facilities possible?”
Redshirt senior linebacker Brandon Magee had similar thoughts.
“Everybody is so used to this, and we got the new jerseys – I think a new stadium will help with fan supports and just getting everybody excited in Arizona,” Magee said.
While it is yet to be determined if the Sun Devils will play in the stadium while renovations are taking place, or if the team will have to play a season or two somewhere else in the Valley, one thing is for certain.
“We wouldn’t go play in Tucson,” Patterson said.
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