JMU Unveils Plan For $52M Stadium

Earlier today the Daily News Record reported that James Madison University’s board of visitors approved plans for a $52 million expansion project for Bridgeforth Stadium. According to Dustin Dopirak “JMU already has $12 million and plans to submit a $40 million budget amendment request to the General Assembly this session…Beyond the private funding, Madison also plans to raise student fees – which are already high and are used more than any other public university in Virginia to fund athletics. King said student fees, which now total $3,200 for the fall and spring semesters combined, will go up by $132 from 2008 to 2011 to fund the project.”

Currently, the stadium holds 15,778, and the university plans to expand the stadium to 24,878 seats by 2011. The project would include new luxury suites, new lights and a new press box. Construction would begin after the 2008 season, and the university would work with Richmond-based Moseley Architects. Dopirak also outlined the timeline for the project:

“The first step would be to remove the portable bleachers in the end zone underneath the scoreboard (referred to as the north side of the stadium by JMU) and replace them with permanent aluminum bleachers by the 2009 season. The new bleachers would seat 4,200 people to bring capacity to 16,878.”

“New restrooms and concessions would be built underneath the stands.”

“After the 2009 season, the grandstand beside the parking deck would be demolished and rebuilt, and the first deck of what would be a two-deck grandstand would be built in its place, starting 40 feet closer to the field than the existing seats. A club lounge would be constructed atop the grandstand, serving alcohol and food to 1,000 fans who buy seats around the lounge.”

“Those changes are expected to be in place for the 2010 season.”

“After the 2010 season, the upper deck would be built over the existing parking deck. Just below the new deck, several luxury suites would be added, along with an expanded press box.”

Personally, I am in favor of a stadium expansion. However, I’m not sure about this particular rendering — the stadium looks lopsided. The side of the stadium next to Newman Lake looks out of place because it towers over everything around it — it is not designed at the right scale. If they want upper deck seating they should have it on both sides to make the stadium look symmetrical. Furthermore, the north endzone should be connected to the grandstands to complete the horseshoe shape and add more seating.

University officials also revealed a 40,000-seat stadium to show “what additional expansion would look like if JMU wanted to ‘max out’ seating capacity at the stadium.”

Is Division 1 football in our future?

  1. Anonymous

    Look at the whole plan. That is just phase 1. There are 2 other phases. It is symetrical when the whole thing is complete.

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