Jordan-Hare Expansion In The Works

Auburn, Ala.--All systems are go for an expansion to Jordan-Hare Stadium in the not-too-distant future.

The athletic committee of the board of trustees gave athletic director David Housel the green light to put the project on the fast track after hearing a report from consultants that there is significant demand for premium seating at the 86,063-seat stadium.

Chris Dunlavey of the firm of Brailsford & Dunlavey told the university officials on Thursday that their in-depth research projects an immediate need for 3,500 more scholarship seats as well as 25 more 12-seat luxury skyboxes. The survey was based on selling the scholarship seats for $1,500 per seat and the suite seats for $2,000 per seat.

The most likely places for the additional premium seats would be in the end zones in a configuration similar to the recent additions at Florida Field, home of the University of Florida Gators.

Housel says that Auburn's stadium design firm, HOK, will immediately go to work on coming up with a plan for the additional premium seats. "I think today's meeting is one of the more exciting days for Auburn athletics in terms of its future," Housel told Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I guess you could compare it to the 1970s and 1980s when the board approved the expansions of the West and East upper decks at Jordan-Hare Stadium."

The athletic director declined to give a time frame for the start of construction, but hints the project will be done as soon as possible.

Jordan-Hare Stadium was originally built as a 7,500-seat facility in 1939. It was expanded to 21,500 in 1949 and expanded to 34,500 in 1955. In the 1960 the capacity was increased to 44,500. Ten years later it was jumped to 61,261 and another 10 years later, in 1980, the capacity became 72,169 with the addition of the first upper deck on the West side. The East side upper deck and skyboxes were added in 1987 to raise the capacity to 85,214. Last year, additional seats were added with the South end zone dressing room project to bring the current capacity to 86,063.

This next expansion is expected to take the stadium past 90,000 seats. How much past depends on what plans the designers come up with and the costs of adding additional seats.

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