Navy to Upgrade Stadium

Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium is set to receive a $16 million update according to the Naval Academy Athletic Association. The recently unveiled plans focus on increasing the capacity of the stadium by around ten percent in time for Navy's move to the Big East in 2015.

With a current seating capacity of 34,000 screaming Midshipmen, Memorial Stadium would rank right at the bottom of the current Big East in seating capacity. The new addition will look to add 3,000 to 4,000 seats and potentially boost the overall seating limit to 38,000. This would move Navy over Cincinnati and right behind UConn in the current Big East crop.

In addition to the expanded seating the upgrades would include high definition video boards in both end zones, media center renovations, and a new bank of club seating on the upper east side of the stadium according to AD Chet Gladchuck. The cash injection will also benefit the athletes directly as there will be an overhaul of the locker rooms which were last updated in 1995. This will bring Academy athlete facilities up to the standards set elsewhere around the country at BCS schools.

Though the plans are not yet set in stone, Gladchuck notes that revenue streams for raising funds have yet to be finalized, the development is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2013 with initial work including the scoreboard and locker room upgrades. If the NAAA plans pan out the project would be funded entirely though donations and fundraising and should see no extra money be tacked on to student fees or ticket prices.

These upgrades are actually Phase IV in multi stage plan which was first set out in 2003. It is hoped that by upgrading the stadium and upgrading to a BCS conference will lead to bigger crowds and help bring extra income to the Annapolis area through tourism. The area already draws 2 million people annually and by providing a state of the art facility to watch big games against storied competition the Naval Academy should be able to grow its football program further. As Lara Fritts of the Annapolis Economic Development Corp. explains, "In terms of 4,000 more people, that means potentially 4,000 more people eating at our restaurants, staying at our hotels and supporting our local economy." Top Stories