Indiana University Athletic Director Fred Glass said a project to enclose the south end of Memorial Stadium won’t add much capacity to the Bloomington venue, but will cost more than $10 million.
The plan first came to light Wednesday when IU football coach Kevin Wilson mentioned the project while answering a caller’s question on his weekly radio show.
Glass said he can’t say yet what the structure enclosing the south end will be, but added that he hopes to announce details of the project by year’s end and have it complete by or before 2017.
“We’re working on a fairly aggressive time table,” Glass told IBJ Thursday afternoon. “We want to get it done before our current crop of freshman graduate.”
Wilson said on his radio show the new project would add a new cafeteria and expand the locker rooms. Some of that space, another university source said, could be used for alumni and sponsor hospitality events during football games.
Before the project can proceed, Glass said he needs approval from university architects, the school’s board of trustees and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.
Glass said preliminary renderings have been done, but those drawings “don’t have much architectural detail.” Glass envisions the architecture of the new south end project to be much like the structure on the north end.
“It will be expanded concourse to concourse with no gaps,” Glass said. “I expect there to be some cool architectural features like we have at the north end zone.”
The structure, Glass said, will have facilities and amenities to benefit athletes in all 24 IU varsity sports and will be paid primarily through alumni donations.
Though he declined to reveal any specifics, he said: “It will house functions that will focus on the well-being of the student-athlete.”
A naming rights deal for rooms in the facility and/or the entire new complex on the south end of the stadium is possible, he added.
“We’re already reaching out to donors and we’re really pleased with the interest,” Glass said. “We even have some commitments already.”
IU officials completed enclosing the north end of Memorial Stadium in 2009. The new project will make the 52,929-seat venue fully enclosed. The south end enclosure won’t add more than a few dozen seats, Glass said.
“What this project is not about is capacity,” Glass said. “We’re not trying to increase capacity. We’re comfortable where we are.”
But Glass is confident the new part of the stadium will help draw more fans and players alike.
“What goes on inside the building will have the most value, but having said that, the enclosed bowl will create an ambience that our fans and players will find big-time and help us be competitive in a conference known to have terrific football stadiums,” Glass said.