The University of Tennessee in the US has this week confirmed that work on a $340m (€291.9m/£260/6m) major renovation project at its Neyland Stadium could begin next summer.
According to Knox News, the first phase of the project is expected to include expansion and renovation of the south concourses of the stadium, which is primarily used to host college American football games.
Other improvements include new restrooms and concession stands in the south concourses, as well as new entry towers/gates and plaza areas in the southwest and southeast corners of Neyland Stadium, and construction of a kitchen and commissary to enable on-site catering.
The university also plans to improve the stadium exterior to better integrate the stadium into the architectural fabric of the campus, as well as adjust the south end zone field wall to improve player safety and conform to National Collegiate Athletic Association guidelines.
In addition, plans are in place to introduce new premium spaces such as open-air suites, a field level club and ledge seating to help the university meet demand for such facilities and capitalise on underutilised space at the stadium.
Early estimates had placed the cost of phase one of the project at $106m, but this has since been increased to approximately $180m. Funding for this section of the project will come from capital campaigns, athletic department earned operating revenue, partnerships and budgeted debt service.
Phase one is scheduled for completion in August 2020 and it is hoped the entire project will be finished in time of the start of the 2021 American football season, which would coincide with the 100th anniversary of the stadium.
However, the construction plans still remain subject to approval from the board at the University of Tennessee, as well as the State Building Commission.
Phase II includes an array of improvements to the east and northeast concourses inside the stadium, as well as a new entryway in the northeast corner and a host of technology upgrades throughout the venues. This section of the project is set to cost around $160m.