IMAGES | Crews on track to finish $63 million Papa John's Cardinal Stadium expansion this summer
It's fourth and long at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, and time is winding off the clock as a construction team works to complete the University of Louisville's $63 million stadium expansion.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's fourth and long at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, and time is winding off the clock as a construction team works to complete the University of Louisville's $63 million stadium expansion.
The work encloses the north end zone and more than triples the size of the Schnellenberger Football Complex, which houses coach's offices, meeting and locker rooms and the team's weight room and training center.
Head football coach Bobby Petrino and U of L Director of Athletics Vince Tyra led media on a tour of the new facility slated to be complete at the end of July.
"While it's not complete, it's heading in the right direction and on time," Tyra said. "I know the players and coaches and everyone in our athletic department is excited about it."
The new amenities for fans include a lounge area at the ground that players will walk directly through as they head from the locker room to the field.
Tyra also touted the design as appealing for optimum sight and sound.
"The sight lines at each level ... it's not going back as much as it is going up," Tyra said. "So you're gonna notice the sight lines are terrific. Once this bowl is enclosed, I'm as excited as anybody to hear the noise."
Petrino said players will see an improved strength and conditioning center, which includes a bigger weight room, more doctor's offices and an indoor "plunge pool" right outside the lockeroom.
"It's great for recovery during the hot months of August and September," Petrino said. "It's a great facility for us to do two things: prevent injury and get back as soon as possible. It allows us to get the biggest, fastest, strongest that they possibly can."
The new Schnellenberger Football Complex also includes a larger meeting space for the entire team and areas for individualized coaching at each position.
"Really, what it does for us in terms of recruiting is it allows our players to see that when they come here, we will have everything for them to get the best out of their ability," Petrino said.
U of L is tackling this expansion amid some concern as ticket sales hit the red. A WDRB investigation last year revealed a steep attendance drop last season, yet the project is expected to create 6,000 new seats. The expansion has become a bone of contention for the namesake of the stadium, Papa John’s International founder and chairman John Schnatter.
The project was approved under former Director of Athletics Tom Jurich's administration, but Tyra said premium packages are selling well so far.
"We're in great position, particularly on those numbers, as we thought about how the expansion would be funded through bonds and we play that in," he said.
To the average eye, the most surprising part of the tour is the amount of work still remaining for construction crews. Exposed steel and bare, unfinished walls are everywhere you look. Nonethless, Tyra said construction is on track to be done by the end of July.
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