Martin renovation gets underway on Monday

CONSTRUCTION to renovate Martin Stadium will begin Monday. The Washington State Board of Regents gave its stamp of approval on the project today, officially clearing the way for the $80 million facelift that will add 1,900 premium seats and a new press box on the south side of the stadium.

"I feel strongly that we are at a time in Cougar Athletics where we can truly make a statement and show that we can and will be competitive in the Pac-12 conference," athletic director Bill Moss said in a statement. "The addition of suites, loge boxes and club seating, along with a new press box, provides our Cougar fans amenities deserving of a Pac-12 institution."

Moos also noted that that premium seats will generate additional revenue "which I believe are necessary to reinvest in scholarships and additional facility enhancement projects which are essential to attract top talent to our campus."

The first version of the project was planned for the north side of the stadium, but was moved to the south side in part to take advantage of easily available covered parking. The south side also facilitates the construction of a state-of-the-art press box.

The project will be privately funded through donations, premium seating revenue and increased revenue from the recently complete Pac-12 television contract, which goes into effect beginning with the 2012-13 academic year. When fully occupied, the club seats, loge boxes and luxury suites are expected to bring in more than $3 million annually in net revenues. That's roughly double what Martin Stadium currently generates in a season. "We greatly appreciate the Board of Regents' support of this project. The investment in Cougar Football is an important step in program competitiveness. All of our sports will benefit as a consequence," said WSU President Elson S. Floyd.

WSU plans to have the project largely completed by the beginning of the 2012 season.

WSU has made headway in selling the premium seats, which are available in lease lengths of three, five or seven years. As of last month, two-thirds of the 21 suites were sold, along with 38 of the 42 loge boxes, and 300 of the 1,200 club seats. To secure your spot, contact Justin Felker at 509-368-6729.

Suites come in three sizes: 12, 18 and 24 seats. The loge boxes come in four- or six-seats. All suite, loge and club patrons will have access to a 10,000-square-foot climate-controlled Club Room that will include numerous flat-screen TVs, upscale menu choices, as well as beer, wine and spirits.

PLANS TO BUILD A football-only office and training complex behind the west endzone of the stadum are tenatively set to commence a year from now. The complex would include a weight room, training facilities, locker rooms, coaches' offices, meeting rooms and a football hall of fame.

This coming summer, WSU will assess the costs of that project -- roughly estimated at $40 million-plus -- and the potential revenues that could fund it. The regents would be asked to approve that construction and financing plan before it goes forward.


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