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UNIVERSITY shows off parts of renovated facility

Updated:
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ Parts of Razorback Stadium now look more like a hotel lobby or an upscale restaurant than an athletic facility, with hardwood floors, deep red carpets, plants and plush leather furniture.

Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles showed football fans around the east side's premium seating sections Saturday, as the school unveiled a finished part of the renovated stadium.

University officials plan to hold similar tours of the stadium as a tool to sell tickets _ more than ever before, they hope, since the $102.9 million expansion raised seating from about 50,000 to 72,000.

But the money didn't just make room for and build new seating. It also added many amenities, particularly to the luxury skyboxes and indoor and outdoor club seats that Broyles showed off Saturday.

Most of the east club seats have been sold for the season and the 132 skyboxes are sold out. More club seats are available on the south side, which UA officials say is similar to the east side.

``We're excited,'' Broyles said. ``Now we can show people what a clubhouse is.''

The indoor club and the skyboxes are enclosed by glass that will protect fans from the weather. In a food court, they can choose from AQ Chicken House, Papa John's Pizza, Corky's Bar-B-Q and a gourmet coffee shop _ and they can stay on top of the game by watching one of 400 television sets.

Several fans shared Broyles' enthusiasm.

``This is a first-class facility,'' said Larry Hansen, who took the tour. ``Arkansas can be proud of this. The people who put this together ought to be proud. You can go to Dallas, and they don't have anything as good as this.''

Doug Shelly, a Tennessee native who holds season tickets, said he also was impressed. Neither he nor other season-ticket holders have gotten their seat assignments yet, but he said he wasn't concerned.

``I don't think there's going to be a bad seat in the house,'' he said.

Van Chapman, a season ticket holder from Searcy, admired the playing field from far above, in the clubhouse.

``I love the panoramic view,'' said Chapman, a tax accountant who graduated from the university in 1946. ``I'm just overwhelmed, amazed, at what's occurred here.''
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