Oct. 21, 2004
Based on questions I receive, some people continue to have doubts about whether or not we are going to build the WestZone.
First of all, I want to say unequivocally, without question we will break ground after the South Carolina game. We will build the WestZone facility.
We are moving forward in ways to get this accomplished. We have funding approved through the state Budget and Control Board. We have kicked off our capital campaign for the football facility portion. We are going full-speed ahead.
The first component will be the club seating, which will create a revenue stream. I have no reservations they will be the best seats in the house. And, these seats are already sold out.
Aside from the club seating, this project will develop the footprint for the football facility which will eventually house offices, recruiting rooms, dressing rooms, and the One Clemson center, etc.
It will be the front porch of the stadium. It will take one of the great atmospheres in college football and make it an even greater atmosphere.
We feel better about where we are now in recruiting. Coaches and recruits know our football program is stable. Breaking ground on the west endzone is a big part of continuing that sense of assurance.
It will show that we are extremely serious about putting our young people in an environment where they can be successful academically and athletically. The WestZone is going to be a tangible sign of that.
One of the things about the project I am most excited about is the exterior. Right now people may have a hard time imagining what the WestZone will look like. The exterior will be a beautiful structure with a plaza and an oculus as a focal point.
The plaza is possible through the generous contribution of Bernice Clanton and the Clanton family. The plaza area will be extremely impressive and a place where people will want to congregate, particularly when the One Clemson Center is completed. What we have envisioned for the One Clemson Center will make it a point of destination for people not necessarily aligned with Clemson. They may not know what Clemson is or where it is, but when they visit the center, they will gain an appreciation about Clemson’s rich history.
That will apply not only athletically, but from the academic side of the campus as well. Take Clemson graduate Jimmie Dyess (’31), for example, who also played football at Clemson. He is the only individual to win the Carnegie Medal and the Medal of Honor — America’s two highest awards for heroism. This university has a great history to tell.
After the One Clemson Center, we want to build the Avenue of Champions. When the buses let the team out, the team will walk up the Avenue of Champions straight into their lockerroom. It will recognize the great people who have come through this university — athletically and otherwise. This university has produced a lot of champions.
Some may ask why go forward with this project when the football record shows we are struggling? We’ll eventually turn that — I have no reservations about that. But you don’t just say “woe is me” and just stop.
We can not wait and see. There is no wait and see. We are into a long-term proposition.
I want to erase any doubt that people may have about the WestZone project. We will break ground after the South Carolina game. From that point forward, we will be adding on until we have our entire football operations in the WestZone as well as the One Clemson center.
Administratively, we will continue to develop our facilities. We need to give our coaches the tools they need to recruit, train and create an environment that is conducive to being successful.
And based on knowing our people and our history at Clemson, we will.
Terry Don Phillips
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