Clemson University’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved Phase 1 for upgrades to Memorial Stadium on Friday, which could increase its capacity by 1,850 seats.
“This whole process began about two years ago,” Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said. “In October of 2017, we really began to talk about where we can go with the next things inside Death Valley. So, it has really been the accumulation of those two years. We had a lot of different ideas, but what we have been able to put forward to the board right now is the accumulation of that.”
Death Valley has held more than 80,000 fans since 1983 when the north upper deck was added. Clemson’s official capacity will increase from 81,500 to 83,350.
The new renovations also call for a new video board, which will measure 126 feet wide and 57 feet tall, as well as a new club level to the WestZone and renovations to the Clemson team’s locker room.
IPTAY donors will split the bill for the new project. There will be no increase in Clemson staff or student fees, nor will public taxes be used for the renovations.
“Like all the rest of our projects, it is privately funded through the great membership of our IPTAY folks, as well as self-generated dollars from the athletic department,” Radakovich said. “This project will be, at least as it is planned right now, a mix of debt and cash. So, we will have some debt and we will have some cash put into the project.”
Along with the new video board, the east side of the stadium, where the Tigers’ run down the hill, Clemson will add additional seating. The project will also call for additional handicap accessibility in the stadium and improvement to the overall fan experience with its new video board, sound system and LED lighting.
“The scoreboard certainly is a big thing and is very important for us to look at as the next thing inside Memorial Stadium,” Radakovich said. “When you do a new video board you get a new sound system and you get new lighting for inside the stadium which is also important as well.”
Construction would begin following the 2020 football season and would be completed before the Tigers’ season opener in 2021.
The overall project is expected to cost $68.7 million.
This will be the first major upgrade to Memorial Stadium since 2015 when the school added the current video boards and ribbon boards as well as upgraded the President’s box, club seating and the press box areas.
From a cost standpoint, this will be the most Clemson has spent on Memorial Stadium for one project since the WestZone, which was approved in 2004. Clemson spent more than $95 million on Memorial Stadium improvements from 2004-2015.
When Memorial Stadium opened its gates in 1942, it could seat 20,000 fans at the time. By 1960, Clemson increased its seating to 53,000 with the addition of west end zone seating. When it added the south upper deck in 1977, attendance increased to 68,000.
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