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Venue News & Notes: Bryant-Denny Stadium Expansion Causes ‘Bama Turf Issues
By: Jason Dachman, Managing Editor
Thursday, September 2, 2010 - 12:06 pm

The latest and last expansion of the University of Alabama’s Bry­ant-Denny Stadium has added room for 9,683 more fans at Alabama foot­ball games, boosting the total capacity to 101,821. But it has also made maintaining the grass field more difficult due to increased sunlight and air-circulation issues. As a result, large portions of the turf will have to be replaced every summer. New sod was brought in before the 2009 season, and the process was repeated in June, at a cost of approximately $500,000.

In hopes of engineering a deal for a new arena, Illinois Athletic Director Ron Guenther has agreed to delay his retirement. Guenther, 64, will stay on possibly through next summer or even longer to help in the transition of new President Michael Hogan and will use the time to acquire funding for the arena project, which he estimates will cost between $150 million and $200 million.

Boise State has unveiled plans for the expansion of Bronco Stadium and a new athletic complex. The project will cost the school more than $100 million. The football facilities are in need of a serious facelift as most have not been upgraded since the stadium opened in 1970.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale opened its brand-new Saluki Stadium to fans for the first time last week. Among the features at the newly completed stadium are a high-tech turf, video scoreboard, and new seating. The Saluki Way project broke ground just 17 months ago.

The new Bradley University Arena opened its doors last week to a crowd of 1,750, who saw the Braves volleyball team beat Western Illinois in the first sports event at the new facility. The crowd Friday night was the largest to see a Bradley home volleyball match.

The Ohio State athletics department will make room for better student seating by vacating 800 seats behind the team benches and scorer’s table on the south side of the arena. For 10 games this season — all nine in the Big Ten and one during the nonconference schedule — students will be in 1,400 seats stretching from the end of the Ohio State bench in the southeast corner to the northwest corner. The seats will be offered only in 10-game packages and located in the first 10 to 12 rows off the floor.

Texas State University has announced plans for the expansion of Bobcat Stadium. The school hopes to have 13,500 new seats on the north side of the stadium for the start of the 2012 season, increasing capacity to 29,500. The expansion is part of a concerted effort to elevate the Bobcats from the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) to the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) within the next several years.

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