The evening of September 15, 2007 will mark a special time in the history of Washington State University.
When Cougar students, alumni, and fans enter Martin Stadium for the Cougars' game against Idaho, they will see a much different venue than the one they left in 2006.
This past December, the long awaited renovation of the football stadium began, and just over nine months after the first shovel went into the ground, you, the Washington State alumni, fan and supporter, can experience the benefits that the initial stadium renovations will offer. These benefits will allow you to have a more fan-friendly game-day experience with easier access in and out of the stadium, more concession areas, and improved and expanded restroom facilities.
The Idaho game will mark the first contest at the stadium since the renovation began. This is an ongoing renovation, however, and the work will not stop just because it's football season. The renovation will be a work in progress during the 2007 season; therefore, I want to take this opportunity to inform you of what you can expect when visiting the stadium this fall.
Work at the north side of the stadium should be substantially complete as all restrooms will be operating and concession areas will be open by the time of the Idaho game. In addition, the student entry gate (Gate J) at the northwest side of the stadium will be functional. The work on the north side encompasses Phase II of the renovation. Funding for this phase is through a student fee, which was approved with overwhelming support by WSU students in March 2006.
At the south (press box) side, the new south restrooms will be operating. The southwest restrooms (near the CUB) were demolished in July, and will not be re-built for the 2007 season. However, with the addition of the new south restrooms, there will be a net gain of lavatories on this side of the stadium. In addition, with the southwest restroom demolition there will be an expanded concourse allowing for improved pedestrian traffic flow in that area.
As was the case last year, with the continued construction occurring at the CUB, a temporary walkway between Rogers Field and the stadium leading to Gate H will be in place. The renovations will have no affect on pregame events at Rogers Field or pregame and postgame events at the Fieldhouse.
At the stadium's east side, the configuration will not be much different than last season as there will be portalettes and moveable concession stands in that area. The significant difference is there will be two gates rather than the four that were available in the past. These gates will be located at the northeast and southeast corners.
The work at the south and the east sides of the stadium is part of Phase I, which is funded primarily through a facility fee placed on football tickets.
An important change to keep in mind throughout the season is the traffic restrictions that will be in place at Stadium Way on game days. These restrictions are intended to improve your safety and security. However, for those who will be at the RV Lot, these restrictions will not prevent you from walking to the stadium as the area between Mooberry Track and the stadium will be open to pedestrian traffic. With the development of a new ticket building and a plaza area, construction fencing in this region will move around throughout the season.
I cannot begin to express how critical this project is to the future of Washington State University and WSU Athletics. This renovation will add to the vitality of not only the WSU football program and Cougar Athletics, but the entire University.
Further phases are planned, which will enhance the overall facility and increase the number of seats including several types of premium seating. If you would like more specific information on how to support the stadium renovation effort please call the WSU Athletics Foundation office at 1-877-IMA-COUG, 509-335-0220, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our goal is to complete Phases I and II prior to the beginning of the 2008 season. We appreciate your patience as we continue with the construction through the season.
In conclusion, while the renovations are designed to enhance the game-day experience for everyone, you can play a part in ensuring that the game-day experience is enjoyed by all, by displaying good sportsmanship at all of our athletic events. We can set the example for other universities to follow in pursuing a positive atmosphere in all of our sports venues.