UNC Board of Governors approve Dowdy-Ficklen renovations

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) –  East Carolina University is one step closer to renovating the south side of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium after the University of North Carolina Board of Governors approved the project Friday.

Before the vote, the Board’s Budget and Finance Committee unanimously voted in favor of the renovations Thursday.

“I’m pleased to be in a position to share this exciting news,” ECU Director of Athletics Jeff Compher said. “We’re very thankful to the Board of Governors and to our Pirate Club members for their generosity and leadership.”

The athletic department has already received $14,098,900 in philanthropic pledges, with an additional $13,956,311 in premium seating pledges. This brings the total to $28,055,111 in overall pledges towards the project.

The Student Assembly of the ECU Student Government Association passed a resolution last week expressing its support for the stadium renovation.

“While we have reached another important milestone, we will seek final legislative approval this summer as part of the self-liquidating bill to keep us on track for a fall of 2018 completion,” Compher said.

Previous Story: (04/16/2016)

East Carolina University Director of Athletics Jeff Compher unveiled the next chapter in ECU history Saturday, releasing plans for a Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Southside Renovation project that is currently targeted for completion in the fall of 2018.

DFS renovation1

As part of a long-term facilities master plan, the $55 million endeavor includes:

  • Construction of a southside tower resulting in the creation of 1,000 premium seats through the addition of a new Club Level, Loge Boxes, Standard Suites and Founder’s Suites
  • Game day experience enhancement via a new Pirate Club Level, Field Level Club and premium parking spaces
  • A modern press level with additional space for media, including amended radio and television broadcast and production locations
  • Improvements to the Ward Sports Medicine Building and Scales Field House to provide needed functional space for student-athletes
  • Development of a hitting facility adjacent to Clark-LeClair Stadium, serving both baseball and softball programs.

“We are very pleased to announce this bold and transformational vision for our athletics program,” Compher said. “It is an ambitious project that enhances Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Bagwell Field and upgrades other facilities that serve our students and coaches. We are encouraged by the support thus far and we will continue working hard to make this project a reality.”

During the spring of 2015, ECU Athletics and the Pirate Club partnered with Conventions, Sports & Leisure International (CSL), an advisory and planning firm, to conduct a market and financial feasibility study to obtain feedback and help generate informed decisions regarding the renovation.

Through on-site tours and an extensive research process that included the collection 5,500 surveys, ECU Athletics and CSL identified five target areas and elements that Pirate Club members and fans desired to see from the project. The areas included premium parking, suites, club seats, a Field Level Club and Loge Boxes. In all, the Southside Renovation project will add 1,000 premium seats.

“We are extremely excited about the future game day experience this renovation will provide all Pirate Nation,” Pirate Club Executive Director J. Batt said.

A total of 670 seats will be available in the new Club Level located in the southside tower, featuring an expansive club lounge, an all-inclusive buffet and beverage area.

The creation of 20 Loge Boxes will allow patrons direct access to the club lounge space. Each box offers four seats with an individual door that enables entry into the aforementioned reception area.

The 14 Standard Suites are expected to provide an unparalleled environment with retractable windows, premium food and beverage options, passage to the club lounge and a private suite level entrance.

Five Founder’s Suites will also be included in the premium seating offering as an exclusive all-access experience. Each Founder’s Suite includes a restroom, availability to the area’s own lounge, upgraded outdoor seating and premium parking.

The premium parking option on a reinforced grass surface provides each pass holder cable TV connections, electrical outlets and conveniently located permanent restrooms located outside the grand entrance of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Among the more unique game day experience enhancements, an 8,000 square-foot Field Level Club will be constructed adjacent to the west endzone in front of the Murphy Center. The Field Level Club places a pass holder at the nearest proximity to the action on Bagwell Field.

Beyond the stadium renovation, the Ward Sports Medicine Building and Scales Field House will also experience improvements as part of the long-term facilities master plan. The football locker room and team meeting areas, athletics training headquarters and equipment room will each undergo a modernization and expansion transformation along with the construction of a football team lounge. The relocation of the ECU Athletics Ticket Office and the addition of team locker rooms will highlight the work scheduled for Scales Field House.

At nearby Clark-LeClair Stadium, a hitting facility will be constructed to support both baseball and softball programs.

Since the existing pressbox was erected in 1978, there have not been any additions on the southside of the facility. The latest project at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium was the completion of a 7,000-seat expansion in the east endzone in 2010. That same year, a total of 10,200 purple chairback seats replaced existing bleachers inside the 35-yard lines on both sides of the venue.

The proposed plan is subject to additional approval by the ECU Board of Trustees and the UNC Board of Governors.

The project is also contingent on the combination of philanthropic giving and premium seating commitments, including the new Club Level, Loge Boxes, Standard Suites and Founder’s suites.

Construction is slated to begin following the final 2017 home football game with completion scheduled prior to the 2018 home opener.

For more information on how to support the Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Southside Renovation project, contact the ECU Pirate Club at 252-737-4540 or ecupirateclub@ecu.edu.

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