Now is time for Cougar fans to step up

NOW IS THE TIME for all good Cougars to rise up in support of their football program, says WSU athletic director Jim Sterk. Today he gave the green light to the single-biggest initiative in school history to boost the Cougars' football fortunes. The decision to move forward with the ambitious Phase III of the Martin Stadium remodel is an act of faith in WSU's fans, friends and supporters.

They will have to carry the proverbial ball into the end zone, turning the blueprints into real-life brick and glass.

Phase III will turn the north side of the stadium into a grand edifice that houses 2,200 luxury box and other premium seats. Revenue from those seats alone will generate nearly the same amount as the rest of the stadium combined.

The revenue implications alone are critical to the future of Cougar football. But so are the cosmetic benefits.

Having a jewel of a stadium will put a supercharge into recruiting efforts –- world-class facilities attract world-class athletes.

CRIMSON COMMENTARY

To help turn this plan into a reality, Sterk is calling on Cougars far and wide to become the program's 12th man. His motto for the project is "Team Built" – a motto that was reinforced at today's press conference with former WSU athletic department heavyweights Bill Moos and Sam Jankovich flanking Sterk and head coach Paul Wulff.

You can help in two primary ways, says Sterk: By making a down payment to buy premium seats, and by donating to the construction effort, which will cost some $33 million.

Agreeing to buy premium seats now is especially critical to the timing of the project, because that pledged revenue is what will allow WSU to leverage the bond market to help finance construction. If WSU can sell 80 percent of the premium seats between now and Dec. 18, construction will commence in the spring and be completed in time for the 2011 season.

Of note is that to secure premium seats now only requires a down payment -- a $300 deposit per seat -- with full payment not due until the seats are ready to sit in. Moreover, if seats are secured now, you'll get a big say in where they're located.

If 80 percent of the seats aren't sold by Dec. 18, start of construction will be pushed farther out and the stadium won't be ready until the 2012 season.

Sterk said a great opportunity to get it done now exists because construction costs are at an all-time low, subcontractors are anxious for work in 2010 in a slow construction economy, and there's the possibility of a reduced financing rate through Build America bonds, which are only available in the 2010 calendar year.


SIDE-VIEW OF THE PLANNED PREMIUM SEATING TIER ON THE STUDENT SIDE OF THE STADIUM. Color renderings of the frontal view are at the bottom of this page.

The 2,200 luxury box, loge and club seats will offer a high-end, comfortable and exclusive way to watch games. Chairs will be deluxe sized and appointed. Liquor sales will be available for these ticketholders in a private lounge area, replete with flat screen TVs all around, and the food offerings will be upscale.

Luxury suites seat up to 24, loge boxes come in 4-person and 6-person configurations and club seats can be purchased indoors or outdoors. To secure your spot, contact Dan Meyer in the athletic department at meyerd@wsu.edu or 509-335-0236.

For more information on Phase III, including a nifty video summary, click to HERE.

Phases I and II of the Martin upgrade -- collectively costing about $27 million -- were launched in December 2006 and formally concluded last November with the unveiling of the giant bronzed statue, "Cougar Pride," near the Stadium Way entrance.

Phase III was put on hold last fall when the nation's credit crisis hit. Sterk says the decision to go forward now is driven by several factors. Among them: the cost of construction has dropped significantly over the last year – lopping roughly $7 million off the original price of Phase III.

Once Phase III is completed, WSU will set its sights on a Phase IV, which tentatively calls for additional seats atop the east endzone and replacing the press box on the south side.


ARTIST'S RENDERING OF WHAT ONE VIEW OF THE LUXURY SEATING WILL LOOK LIKE ON GAME DAY.


ARTIST'S RENDERING OF WHAT PHASE III WILL LOOK LIKE WHEN COMPLETED. THIS IS THE STUDENT SIDE OF THE STADIUM AS VIEWED FROM STADIUM WAY.





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