Stadium Upgrades Move Into Home Stretch

Wednesday, May 21st 2008, 5:04 pm
By: News On 6

Renovations at the University of Tulsa's Chapman Stadium reached a milestone on Wednesday.  The frame for the new press box is in place, 122 days before the first home game.  News On 6 anchor Terry Hood reports the construction is more than halfway finished.

The university says it will be done on schedule and will bring a whole new look to Golden Hurricane Athletics.

Peppered with names like Frank, Wallace, and Big Ben Graham, the final piece of the press box puzzle is ready to go.

"We have actually been working on this project 53 weeks now," said TU's Terry Hossack.

The new tower is made up of 300 tons of steel.  There are 19 suites, a club level with room for 400, and a new press box that will fill out the 40,000 square foot structure.

The tower is one part of the facelift for TU's Chapman Stadium.   Some 80,000 square feet of FieldTurf was installed in the last month and a new scoreboard is on the way with a 55-foot wide high-definition JumboTron.      

Soon to come are new seats for the middle portions of the stadium and new bleachers for the edges.   The new Chapman Stadium will actually have 10,000 fewer seats than the old Chapman.  But, university officials say that's a good thing.

 "We think that by taking the Major League Baseball approach of shrinking our stadium, making it more fan friendly, more intimate environment.  We think is going to increase the game day atmosphere," said TU's Terry Hossack.

The target date to have everything finished is September 1st, three weeks before the first home game.  Contractors say they've only missed four days because of weather.

"It is on schedule and it is quick. We knew that going in. We did a lot of up front work to make sure we had parts and pieces and people on board to put things in place," said Rob Cleavinger with J.E. Dunn Construction.

As the final beam gets put into place, the homestretch is in sight and this stadium, built in the 1930's, is about ready for the next generation.

The renovations come with a price tag of $24 million.  It's all being paid for with private donations.