Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Construction of Wildcatter Suites on schedule


UW photo

by UW Athletics Media Relations

Many University of Wyoming fans have seen the construction in progress on War Memorial Stadium through the first few weeks of the college football season, and many have asked about the progress of the project.

Construction of the new Wildcatter Stadium Club & Suites, along with enhancements to the east side of the stadium began in the spring of 2009 with a projected completion date set for the beginning of the 2010 college football season. Several months into the construction, the project is both on schedule and on budget.

"The War Memorial Stadium East Enhancements and Wildcatter Expansion Project is on schedule and on budget," said Jennifer Coast, who is a Capital Projects Manager with the University of Wyoming Facilities Planning Office and is overseeing the construction.

Sampson Construction, which is based out of Cheyenne and Lincoln, Neb., is the general contractor for the project. Sampson has extensive experience in stadium construction, including, among other projects, a renovation to Memorial Stadium at the University of Nebraska.

"With the first two football games behind us, Sampson Construction's experience with construction during games is clear," said Coast. "Their job site has been well defined and clean, leaving a safe and positive gameday experience for our fans."

The east stadium enhancements portion of the construction are being completed both to improve the gameday experience for all Cowboy fans and to make required structural repairs and address ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) needs in the stadium. War Memorial Stadium was originally constructed in 1950.

The Wildcatter Stadium Club & Suites portion of the project offers an opportunity for UW Athletics to generate additional revenue for years to come.

"The improvements being made to the east side of the stadium in terms of improved seating, additional seating for fans with disabilities and improved concession and bathroom areas is something that is being done to benefit all of our fans," said Tom Burman, UW Athletics Director. "The revenue that will be generated from the Wildcatter Stadium Club & Suite project will enhance our bottom line, and will allow us to invest more resources into our sports programs. This additional source of revenue is important to our athletics program as we continue to compete in one of the best conferences in the country -- the Mountain West Conference."

Each of the other eight member institutions of the Mountain West Conference currently offer club and or suite seating in their stadiums.

The total estimated cost of the project is $26.4 million. The enhancements to the east side of War Memorial Stadium make up more than $9.2 million of that total. Of that $9.2 million more than $5 million has been designated to shore up the safety in the upper concourse on the east side. In excess of $3 million has been designated to improve access for fans with disabilities, and approximately $1.2 million will be spent to construct an entrance/lobby on the east side of the stadium. The renovation also includes new concession areas and improved and expanded restroom facilities for fans on the lower east side of the stadium, as well as an expansion of the lower concourse that will include improved lighting with easier accessibility for fans to enter and exit on gamedays.

The Wildcatter Stadium Club & Suites at War Memorial Stadium is an exciting new facility project, offering University of Wyoming Football fans the advantages of comfortable, indoor seating.

A total of 12 individual suites along with a stadium-club area that will contain 250 indoor club seats are being added to the upper east side of the stadium and will be named after the many successful "Wildcatters" of Wyoming.

"Response has been great for these new seating options," said Josh Rebholz, Associate Athletics Director for Development. "We already have lease commitments for all the suites, and we are taking names of other interested parties and placing them on a waiting list for the future. In terms of club seating, we have commitments for over 30 percent of the 250 club seats available, and we are still almost a year away from the opening."

A large portion of the project is being funded with private donations and matching funds appropriated by the Wyoming State Legislature. In 2004, UW created the Strategic Plan for Intercollegiate Athletics and asked the state of Wyoming for support through matching donations for each gift of $25,000 or more. The Wyoming State Legislature responded by designating $19 million in matching funds for UW Athletics. Through the support of private donors and the legislature nearly $18.5 million has been matched.

Among the other projects that these donations benefitted were: the Louis S. Madrid Sports Complex and Memorial 8 Track, utilized by UW's track and field and soccer programs; the artificial turf surface on Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium; and the Indoor Practice Facility.

The Wildcatter Stadium Club & Suites club-seating area will contain: an indoor dining area located directly behind the seating area; and numerous big-screen televisions in a climate-controlled setting. The dining area will also include a private concession area that will be accessible only to fans who have purchased suites or club seats. Suite and club-seat members will also have the added amenity of private restroom facilities only accessible on this level. The club seat price of $2,500 per seat, per season includes a season ticket and a buffet meal for each Cowboy home football game.

Each of the suites available for fans to lease will include: a kitchen with mini-refrigerator; 12 fixed, chair-back seats; four additional bar-height stools; two flat-screen televisions; and a climate-controlled environment. The suite package includes 16 season tickets, four premium-parking passes for the season and 16 buffets for each game. The lease rate is $40,000 per suite, per year.

Access to the Wildcatter Stadium Club & Suites will be via two private elevators.
Discounts on both club-seating and suites will be offered to fans who want to prepay lease agreements or who choose to commit to multi-year leases.

Tours of the Wildcatter Stadium Club & Suites will be conducted in the summer of 2010. Fans may also follow the progress of the project via a live webcam on the official University of Wyoming Athletics website at http://www.wyomingathletics.com/.

For additional information on how you can reserve a suite or club seats, contact Rebholz, Executive Director of the Cowboy Joe Club, at (307) 766-6242.

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