A fundraising drive was launched during the last football season and plans to renovate the stadium were announced. The initial goal was to raise $12-million, but generosity poured in as alumni and local business people showered Ball State to the tune $13.6-million.
Construction began on the new Scheumann Stadium almost the day the 2006 season ended. Construction crews began tearing down the old restroom, concession stands and press box, all of which will be replaced by new, updated and larger facilities.
At first sight when driving up to Scheumann Stadium is the additional size of the new "state of the art" Paul & Patricia Kozel Communications Center. The new press box, which is three levels high, includes corporate suites and club seating along with press and coaches' boxes.
Probably the most important renovation made was Ball State's decision to change its playing surface from natural grass to new field turf. This area is probably the greatest area of improvement from the perspective of the maintenance and coaching staff as it is an easier surface to play on and does not wear down during the course of a season, like natural grass.
"The kids absolutely love it," Ball State head coach Brady Hoke stated. "It's a much faster surface than grass and it is a lot softer than the old artificial turf."
Ball State surely did not skimp on the field surface installation either. After bids where complied, the university chose quality installers over price. Opting to have the turf installed by Field Turf USA, Inc. a company that not only specializes in the laying of Field Turf, but also has laid said turf in many NFL stadiums (New England, Indianapolis, Tennessee, etc.), Canadian Football League Stadiums and College stadiums (Ohio State, Virginia, Florida, Purdue, etc.).
Stay tuned to part 2 of the Scheumann Stadium story tomorrow.