Under a best-case scenario, the University of Washington would like to begin a "several hundreds of millions of dollars" renovation of Husky Stadium in December of next year and be playing in those new digs by 2010.
However, a more realistic timetable would have construction beginning in 2009, playing a 2010 season at Qwest Field, and then moving into their renovated – and probably renamed – home in 2011.
Athletic director Todd Turner and former Gov. Dan Evans, chairman of the stadium renovation committee, briefed the UW board of regents on their stadium plans Thursday and then updated the media.
Showing the same uncertain artists conceptions first unveiled about six months ago, Turner and Evans outlined stadium renovation goals that would include solve existing safety and code concerns, improve the fan experience, and centralize the football coaches offices, weight room, locker room ticket office and fan shop in a new building created under the west end zone.
Specifically, the stadium renovation would:
&bullremove the track surrounding the field, lower the field and move the sideline seats closer to the field,
&bullimprove and expand the concession areas,
&bullgreatly increase the restroom facilities, especially for women,
&bullincrease the number of elevators from
&bullwide the aisles and increase leg room in the seating area,
&bullimprove views of Lake Washington by replacing the east end zone scoreboard with two sideline scoreboards.
Funding remains uncertain, however the stadium renovation committee expects to present a proposal -- including timeline and funding – to the regents and the general public in November.
And yes, naming rights are among the funding sources being considered.
A few quotes:
EVANS: "We've got the oldest stadium in the Pac-10: The first game was played in 1920. The lower bowl, which holds about 40,000 people, was the original stadium. It's in extraordinarily bad shape. … If you take a look at it when it's not filled with fans and with all the excitement focused on the field, you'll find it badly needs help. There is no alternative."
TURNER: "Ideally we wouldn't move any seasons off campus. But if it speeds the construction process up and enables us to do it less expensively, then we'd like to do it. We'd really like to get out of Sound Transit's way as quickly as we can and make the period of disruption for our fans as short a time as possible."
TURNER: "It's a serious endeavor and one that's being taken very very seriously by the university's leadership. I think the question can clearly be answered. It's not a matter of will we do anything to Husky Stadium, it's just a matter of when."
Naturally, we'll have extensive coverage of this in our Friday paper.