April 26, 2006
Webcam | Club Seat Sightlines
Construction of Component I of the WestZone Initiative at Clemson Memorial Stadium is ahead of schedule and will be completed for the season opener on September 2 when the Tigers play host to Florida Atlantic. Visually from the field, the area resembled a construction site for the 2005 season, but that will not be the case in 2006.
On opening day this year, Clemson fans will see a completed WestZone Club seating area that will feature over 970 new orange chair back seats, complimented by a common climate controlled lounge area that will feature specialty food and beverage, television monitors for replays and other exclusive amenities. The Club Level Seats are sold out for the 2006 season and were actually sold out prior to construction.
Fans will also benefit from a concourse walkway that connects the North and South stands. It offers additional restrooms and concession areas, new seating for wheelchair bound spectators, and other game-day amenities. Additional seats in the Pie Areas to the right and left of the West stands will also be completed. The new scoreboard at the East End of the stadium, complete with state-of-the-art video replays, is also a feature of Component I and was operational last year.
While fans attending games at Death Valley this year will see these visible enhancements to the stadium, Clemson student-athletes will enjoy a finished locker room area that is nearly twice the size of the previous locker room. New wooden lockers, carpeting, and photo montages depicting Clemson’s football heritage are featured in the locker room. The visiting team locker room was completed last year.
Since the announcement of the WestZone Initiative in 2004, Head Coach Tommy Bowden and his staff have seen a steady improvement in the quality of young men (athletically and academically) who are considering Clemson University. A look to the recruiting rankings of many services is consistent with that feeling (see chart below).
“It is not a coincidence that the quality of our recruiting classes has improved dramatically since we began moving dirt and pouring mortar in the West end zone of Memorial Stadium,” said Head Coach Tommy Bowden.
“Our fans who follow the program closely see that in the recruiting service rankings, but I see it through personal contact with the quality of young men who are now considering and selecting Clemson. As we continue to build and eventually finish the WestZone Initiative it will help us reach the championship quality program we all strive for.”
Component II and Component III of the WestZone Initiative will have a further positive effect on Clemson recruiting efforts and the overall quality of the Clemson Athletic Program. Component II will include new offices for Clemson’s football coaching staff, position team meeting rooms, a new team meeting room, football administration offices, a player lounge area, an aquatic training facility, a lower concourse entrance area that will include personal plaques of each current Clemson player, and a 15,000 square-foot strength training facility.
“The Capital Campaign’s original goal was to raise $27 million,” said Senior Associate Athletic Director Bill D’Andrea. “To date we have raised $16.3 million and I am optimistic we will raise the remaining $10.7 million that will allow us to complete Component II and move our football operations to Memorial Stadium. That is our immediate goal.”
Component III will feature a Clemson Museum that will include Clemson’s University, military and athletic history, and a new Lettermen’s Lounge.Based on estimates by an architecture firm and an independent estimator the cost to complete Component I was predicted to be $30 million when the evaluation took place in 2003. However, due to the construction market climate and the rising costs of materials, Component I will cost roughly $40 million when it is completed this summer. Funds for Component I have been raised through private donations, the assistance of IPTAY, existing athletic department funds, and through the issue of state bonds.
Additional funds will be needed to complete Component III, which includes the Clemson Museum and the Lettermen’s Area. Former Clemson University President Phil Prince and former executive secretary of IPTAY Joe Turner are the co-chairmen of the WestZone Initiative. The total cost of the three components combined should be approximately $70 million.
“We certainly feel a sense of urgency to complete Component II and Component III,” said Athletic Director Dr. Terry Don Phillips. “We have been behind in this area and we feel the completion of this project will put us ahead when it comes to facilities. But, we are going to make sound decisions from a fiscal standpoint that won’t handicap our department and University in the long term.”
The original plans for a new football administration building were developed in 1999 prior to Phillips appointment as Clemson’s athletic director and called for a separate building constructed near the football practice fields adjacent to the Jervey Athletic Center. Phillips had administered successful projects at other institutions that combined a new football facility with the construction of a club seating area. The WestZone Club will have a positive effect on the cash flow needed to finance the overall project. Thus, it was a featured aspect of Component I.
Dr. Phillips is committed to building a model sports program at Clemson and he sees seven major areas that need to be addressed in reaching this accomplishment. The WestZone Project addresses five of the seven areas. Specifically, this project will:
After the 2003 season, Clemson built a new football locker room in the Jervey Athletic Center and renovated the strength training facility. A new artificial surface practice field was installed and a 53-yard indoor surface was purchased for the Indoor Track Facility for use during inclement weather. “The renovations we made in 2004 provide our team with a quality environment at the present time, but the facilities in the WestZone will be among the best nationally,” said Phillips.
“After meeting with Dr. Phillips on April 25, I have a general understanding of the construction schedule and finances that will be needed to complete the football operations aspect of the WestZone Initiative,” said Bowden. “I have the utmost confidence in the people we have leading us in this capital campaign and know it will be among the best football facilities in the country when it is completed.”
The entire 19-sports program will benefit from the WestZone Project because it will allow Clemson’s Olympic sports improved facilities as well. The current football locker room (built in 2004) in the Jervey Athletic Center will be converted into separate locker rooms for Olympic sports. There will be less congestion and less scheduling conflicts in the strength training room at the Jervey Athletic Center. The McFadden Building will give Olympic sports more office space.
“The WestZone Initiative will become the front door to Death Valley and our athletic facilities landscape,” said Phillips. “Facilities aren’t the end all, but they are extremely important in the recruiting process. They can put you in position to become successful athletically and academically.”In February, 2006, Clemson signed a football recruiting class that ranked among the top 16 in the nation according to three different services. While there are many factors to consider when a young man is trying to select a University to further his career, it is apparent that facilities are an important aspect.
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