Greetings from the Husky Stadium press box. Braving all the situational elements of a Thursday night game - traffic, limited parking, etc. - the top priority today was arriving here as early as possible.
Valuable to bring a girlfriend along (and sister) to drop you off somehwere close to the venue on Montlake Boulevard. In exchange, I bought lunch (Blue C sushi in University Village).
Folks, I know a storm is blowing through here for the weekend. But it's pretty chilly right now, and possibly more impacting, the stiff gusts are back.
On Monday, a huge windstorm came into the South Sound, knocking out power in a lot of areas. That was the same night gusts upward of 50 mph hit the UW practice field, sending sideline benches and plastic garbage cans sprawling onto the turf.
Walking in here reminds me a bit of that night.
And the Huskies held a practice in it already. Could it be an advantage? I don't see how it can be a disadvantage, especially since it's the same west-to-end wind as Monday.
Crowds are beginning to commence. Tailgating at the far north parking lot is well underway. Saw lots of UW purple in the shopping center (I think that will be a popular area to park tonight ... do it as your own risk).
I'm watching a Subway advertisement blowing around on the field as the Husky marching band practices its halftime show. Will be back later with updates.
** UPDATE I (3:55 p.m.): Players are out throwing the ball around. Apparently, the underwear is black-colored, too (staying with the 'Blackout' theme). There are some guys, notably Mason Foster, who have their shirts off during stretching. Brr!!
By the way, here is the release of the UW board of regents approving the stadium renovation plan:
At its Thursday meeting, the University of Washington Board of Regents approved a $250 million renovation of Husky Stadium, to be completed by the start of the 2013 UW football season. The renovation’s funding model includes no public, state or university contributions, and the UW department of Intercollegiate Athletics will be responsible for all funding.
“We are pleased that the Board of Regents has given us the approval to move forward with the renovation,” UW athletic director Scott Woodward said. “The approval allows us to take the next steps in a project which is vital to the success of our football program and our department.”
The renovation will restore iconic Husky Stadium to one of the finest college football venues in the country. Plans include the complete demolition and reconstruction of the lower bowl and southside upper stands. The track will be removed, and the field lowered four feet to bring seating closer to the playing surface and improve sightlines. A state-of-the-art football operations facility including team meeting rooms, recruiting facilities and coaches offices will be incorporated into the west side of the stadium. Premium seating opportunities, including 25 suites, 25 loge boxes, and over 2,500 club seats, will be built into the facility. Overall seating capacity is expected to remain similar to the current capacity.
“We are very excited about the renovation of Husky Stadium,” Steve Sarkisian, UW head football coach, said. “An enhanced fan experience, while still embracing the great tradition it holds, will all be part of making our football program more competitive.”
UW ICA will use 30-year bonds to cover the project’s $250 million cost. Under the funding model approved by the Board of Regents, UW ICA will raise $50 million through major gift donations and generate the remaining $200 million through new revenues associated with the stadium including naming rights, increased Tyee season ticket revenue, and premium seating opportunities.
During the renovation, UW will play its 2012 home football season, and the November 26, 2011, Apple Cup game against Washington State at Qwest Field.
First and Goal will serve as the host of the 2011 Apple Cup, pricing and consigning tickets to UW to sell with first priority to their season ticket holders. Any unsold tickets will then be returned to First and Goal, who will open sales to the general public and assume any financial risk associated with hosting the game. The other six UW home games in the 2011 season will be played at Husky Stadium. UW’s 2012 home season in Qwest provides a different financial arrangement, with the university pricing, allocating and selling all season and single-game tickets and providing a fee to First and Goal for usage costs associated with the event.
** UPDATE II (5 p.m.): Seniors just came out. Alvin Logan (not in uniform, out with knee for season) charged out of the tunnel first. The last three, in order, were safety Nate Williams, linebacker Mason Foster and, of course, quarterback Jake Locker. All the players got a brief hug from UW coach Steve Sarkisian right inside the tunnel.