Sun Devil Stadium has undergone a number of renovations since its opening in 1958, but the latest proposed “facelift” may be the most ambitious one of all.
On Wednesday, athletic director Steve Patterson, along with head coach Todd Graham, laid out an initial plan and showed artist renderings of what they envision the new and improved Sun Devil Stadium to look like upon completion.
The most radical addition to the stadium, in Patterson’s words, is a “fabric roof” that would cover the stadium and provide shade for the fans and players.
Patterson said he isn’t concerned about Mother Nature having an effect on the covering.
One of the other reasons for the canopy top, is the ability to play games earlier on the designated game days, as the new Pac-12 television schedule will most likely demand.
Another major change to Sun Devil Stadium would be the seating capacity, which would drop to between 55,000 and 65,000 seats.
“We probably don’t need as many seats as we really have out there quite frankly,” Patterson said.
That drop in seating would allow for “better amenities, more tread depth,” according to Patterson.
In layman’s terms, tread depth is akin to having more leg room, like on some of the economy plus seats on an airplane or in first class on a flight.
As far as the cost of this project, Patterson didn’t place a specific dollar amount on it.
“We haven’t set an exact budget yet, and we’re in that study right now,” Patterson said.
Depending on how they decide to do the renovation, whether spacing it out, or doing it “in one fell swoop,” as Patterson said, the idea of playing somewhere else like Chase Field or University of Phoenix Stadium was brought up, to which Patterson replied in classic fashion.
“Well we wouldn’t go play in Tucson,” he said, bringing the house down as you can imagine.
Graham was understandably giddy at the thought of the future and what’s to come when the project is totally complete, and how it will benefit the football program, and the university as a whole.
“It’s going to be a tremendous venue for us to be able to move forward to as a program,” Graham said. “It speaks volumes that our program is investing in a program that expects to be champions.”
If the championships do come to pass, then the whole pain and process of re-doing the stadium will be well worth it.