Open Up: Premium Seats To Get Window Makeovers

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas associate athletic director Jerry Pufall, who oversees the operation of facilities, said there has been one constant concern among indoor club seat and suite holders in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

They always wondered if the windows could be opened to let crowd noise in.

Well, Arkansas' premium seat holders will have their wish granted next fall when the Razorbacks unveil windows capable of opening and closing in the previously enclosed seating areas. The university is accepting bids and, when work is completed, 15,000 to 20,000 fans should feel more like a part of the crowd during Fayetteville games.

"You always want to get feedback from the fans," Pufall said. "What do they like about the stadium? What do you wish were different or you'd modify?

"The one constant that we'd always hear from the club people was, ‘Boy, if there's any way you can get some natural sound in here?' Last year, we started to get some people in the South suites that were asking that same question. ‘Is there any way you can open the window just so we can hear that crowd noise?'"

The modifications will be made to 90 suites on the West side and South end zone portions of the stadium. The East side suites, which are the newest, were built with windows that open up and close down with the touch of a button.

The West and South suites won't have the same luxury. But they'll manually open and close from side to side when work is finished.

"The skyboxes on the East side have been so popular with the openings," Pufall said. "We did a prototype on the West side in the box the athletic department owns and suite holders have come by and taken a look at it and really like it."

In addition, Pufall said the South end zone and East indoor club seats will be opened. The two-tiered windows in the club seats shut crowd noise out, but the university will open the top tier.

Last year, the university considered opening windows in a couple of suites and Pufall said it would've cost between $10,000 to $12,000 per unit. But Pufall said Arkansas has found a different system and, with 90 suites ready to be modified, there should be significant savings on the cost per suite.

Pufall said the university is negotiating with a company and isn't sure if the costs will be reflected in suite prices or handled by the university. He said the suite holders that have been contacted have supported the decision.

"The response that we've had from the suite holders that they've talked to over the phone or actually have come to the stadium and looked at it, they were just ecstatic," Pufall said. "It's something that they have seen on the (East) side. It just opens the suite up to the true crowd feel that you can't get behind the glass.

"(Athletic director Frank Broyles is) committed to doing it. He feels it's something that's going to be a tremendous asset to what we already have."

Out Of Action

Former Arkansas quarterback Matt   Jones, who was selected by Jacksonville in the first round of 2005 NFL Draft, missed more practice time with the Jaguars last week because of a hamstring injury.

Jones strained his hamstring during Jacksonville's second practice of minicamp last month and was held out of three workouts this week. The Jaguars will return to work out Tuesday and coach Jack Del Rio told the Jacksonville media he's hoping Jones will return to action soon.

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt believes the hamstring injury occurred because Jones is adjusting to a new position in the NFL. Receivers run much more during practice than quarterbacks, where Jones played throughout his college career.

"It's going to be different for him at wide receiver because he's running routes from the moment he walks out to the moment he steps off," Nutt said. "When you're going full speed, and his hamstrings are like four foot long anyway, you've got to stretch out, you've got to get warm and you've got to condition your body.

"All those (muscles) have to be on full, full go, very warm and I tell you, you've got to take care of your body."

Getting Started ... Again

Most of Arkansas' returning players were out of town during the weeklong break between spring and summer classes. But most of them will be back on campus beginning Monday to begin summer school and the off-season conditioning program.

"We lay the first brick May 23," tailback De'Arrius Howard said. "I'm real fired up. I'm so excited about it."

Nutt said Arkansas' incoming freshmen won't begin arriving until the second summer school session, which begins July 5.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories