At a press conference at the home of the baseball Texas Rangers following a pep rally last Thursday, KSU President Kirk Schulz said the effort will create a "Wow!" factor, and create an image of, "These people really have something going."
The project will feature a massive new west-side structure that is considered pivotal in maintaining and securing K-State's competitive future, enhancing the overall experience of both K-State student-athletes and fans and providing a Northwest Gateway to the K-State campus that will connect the athletics complex to the campus while serving as a point of pride to K-Staters for generations.
"As we continue to move forward as a member of the Big 12 Conference, it is imperative that we build upon the tradition and success of our program and the passion of our fan base," said Athletics Director John Currie.
"The grass-roots support of our fans coupled with philanthropic leadership will allow us to privately fund this transformational project and significantly enhance not only the world-class experience of our student-athletes and the national visibility of Kansas State University, the city of Manhattan and the state of Kansas but also the terrific fans that will help make this a reality."
The approximate 250,000 gross square-foot facility, constructed in K-State limestone at a projected full project cost of $75 million, will provide enhanced amenities for Wildcat fans and student-athletes while replacing the stadium's original facilities built in 1969 and the Dev Nelson Press Box opened in 1993.
The new structure will include expansive concession and restroom facilities, new ticket office and K-State retail locations, a K-State Hall of Honor within a large main concourse, a student-athlete dining hall, new club and loge seats as well as additional premium suites and a new press/media level. Most importantly, the structure will provide a more accessible, safe and secure environment for all Wildcat and visiting families and fans.
Among the enhancements fans will enjoy include more than double the number of restroom fixtures from the current structure and more than triple the concession points of sale, an increase in ADA seating, larger and more efficient gates for entry into the stadium and a much larger concourse area of approximately 40,000 square feet.
The project will be led by the world-renowned sports design firm AE Com (formerly Ellerbe Becket out of Kansas City) with design support from Heery Design in conjunction with Construction Managers GE Johnson and Mortenson Construction.
With continued momentum in the funding campaign, K-State's goal is to break ground prior to the 2012 football season with an estimated substantial completion in time for the 2013 football season. The initial construction process will take place around the current press box structure before being fully completed. Head coach Bill Snyder understands the significance of such a project to not only the Wildcat football program but also the entire K-State family.
"This new gateway to Kansas State University sends a message to what a remarkable university we have," said Snyder. "We have a tremendous environment for our student-athletes and all of our students, and this truly shows how it all ties together with this amazing community that we have. We are all one family, which permeates the entire university, our fan base and our wonderful student body and faculty."
No tax or tuition dollars will be used, as the facility will be funded entirely by the generosity of K-Staters through leadership construction gifts and grass roots support. The private investment will significantly increases the departments' future revenue generating capacity and K-State's ability to compete.
While more than one-third of the $75 million in funding needed to complete the project has already been secured, the department, to maintain its commitment to fiscal integrity, is committed to receiving at least 50 to 60 percent or more of the total funding in philanthropic commitments before bonds are issued and ground is broken on construction.
It's hoped that construction will begin this summer with the project completed in time for the 2013 season.