The athletics department at the University of Tennessee (UT) has provided updated plans for the renovation of its 102,000-seat Neyland Stadium after the project was put on hold last year.
UT signed off on a two-phase development of the stadium in November 2017 but the plans were postponed 12 months later following an overhaul in senior management at the university and its athletics department.
The university has now announced a revised year-by-year progress plan for the project, stating that the decision to pause work allowed time to review and confirm the scope elements and financial model associated with the renovation.
The goals of the new plan state that a new stadium exterior will be designed that “embraces the objectives of the campus masterplan and the established language of the university”.
Plans have been outlined for new entry plazas in the southwest and southeast areas of the stadium, as well as the expansion of the main south concourse and improvement of restrooms. Further concession stands will also be added, while the technology infrastructure of the stadium will be addressed.
UT said the updated plan meets the requirements from the previous Board of Trustee approval and covers the period from 2019 to 2023.
UT’s director of athletics Phillip Fulmer said: “I appreciate the patience of our fans and donors as we’ve worked through a very thorough review of our plans to start preparing Neyland Stadium for its next 100 years of service. I’m very pleased about where we’ve landed. It was important to me that the earliest work of the upcoming renovations focused on areas that impacted the fan experience for everyone in the stadium.”
Fans visiting the stadium in recent weeks have experienced a new 360-degree LED ribbon board, while alcohol sales have also been introduced. The next stage of work will see the stadium’s sound system replaced and significantly upgraded ahead of the 2020 college football season.
In the autumn of 2021, which marks Neyland Stadium’s centennial year, The Lauricella Center for Letter Winners and Wolf-Kaplan Hospitality Center will be renovated, while fifth-level media facilities on the stadium’s west side will be converted into an open-air donor lounge.
By the following year, the plans will allow for the completion of main level-one south concourse renovations, as well as the addition of a north-side videoboard and the rebuilding of the lower-west-side seating deck.
In 2023, the phase of renovation work will conclude two “fan-engaging plazas” that will be unveiled at Gate 4 and Gate 10 of the stadium.
UT hopes the overall exterior design will dramatically improve pedestrian traffic and stadium ingress and egress flow. The university confirmed the project remains within the $180m (£140m/€163m) budget that was approved by its Board of Trustees in November 2017.
Image: University of Tennessee