Phase two of the recent expansion of Spring Brooks Stadium is days from completion. The seating capacity is now approximately 20,000 up from 9,000 seats when Phase One was completed a couple years ago.
The university was required to expand the stadium for its move up to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2017. Minor details which include finishing touches and paint are all that’s left after a three year process.
During a press conference with the media Aug 3, Director of Athletics Matt Hogue highlighted the new features and described the process of what it took to get there.
“This is the accumulation of about a three year project to get this stadium completed,” Hogue said. “We are now in that final stage and looking forward to kind of getting back to the business of no more construction sites or construction limitations as we go and operate the football season and play our games. Our project has finally come to fruition.”
Hogue said that fans can expect a completely different experience on Aug. 31 when the Chants host Eastern Michigan.
“They can expect a completely different place to watch a game,” Hogue said. “There are different more vantage points than ever before. We want people to continue to buy in and believe in what we are trying to accomplish here as we have been trying to do for close to 20 years in this program.”
On the west side of the stadium, the biggest changes were in the premium sections along with the upper-level of seating. More concessions and bathroom facilities have been added as well.
“It’s something that’s going to provide an experience that we haven’t had here before,” Hogue said. “You’re right on the 50-yard line, you’ve got outdoor club seats you can purchase, you can have access to the suite, which is an open floor plan. That’s really probably the biggest thing that I think is going to be the real change here, other than obviously more seating.”
Hogue believes the stadium will help them attract the type of recruits that will make them competitive in the Sun Belt Conference.
“I think you can only assist in the recruiting effort,” Hogue said. “Recruiting today is so much about visuals, whether that’s social media visuals, whether that’s visuals of our facilities or what you can offer in terms of support. “
Back in June 2018, it was announced that the stadium was selected to host the inaugural Myrtle Beach Bowl in 2020.
“We really are starting to kind of getting into a high gear on looking ahead to the Myrtle Beach Bowl in 2020. Working in conjunction with the chamber and ESPN Events, this is going to be a big deal not only for our area but also for the university being able to host such an event. There are only a handful of places across the country that have bowl games and that’s a big deal for this region to be one of those.”
The first actual game will be Aug. 16, when the stadium hosts the 30th anniversary of the CNB Kickoff Classic high school preseason jamboree.
“I think it’s a natural given what high school football means to our area,” Hogue said. “We want to be as strong as a community partner as we can.”
Senior offensive tackle Ethan Howard said he hopes the community enjoys the new features of the stadium.
“It’s phenomenal, “Howard said. “If we could pack it out, that would be even better. We have super nice suites on the west side. It is going to be a great atmosphere.”