Davis Wade Stadium reopened for the first game of the season after undergoing a US$75m renovation and expansion designed by 360 Architecture in association with LPK Architects. One of the defining features of the project is the north end zone expansion, completed in August, which expands stadium capacity from 55,000 to over 61,000 and provides new premium seating products that will increase revenue generation for the university.
The Gridiron Field Level Club provides season ticket holders access to the playing surface. Located in the north end zone, the enclosed club offers food and beverage service, high-definition screens and an interior design aimed at recreating the visceral experience of being on the field. Patrons can also stand outside for a real “toes on the turf” experience.
Comprised of 236 loge seats and 22 new skyboxes, the State Level offers loge boxes and private mini-suites at a lower price point than existing premium options. The State Level is outfitted with food and beverage stations located in larger gathering areas that are common to the loge level’s premium seats. Loge seats accommodate four, six or eight spectators
and offer fans personal-use flat-panel televisions, a place to set food and beverages and access to the private loge club. Flanking the loge seats are new suites, which seat between 12 and 18 spectators.
The Scoreboard Club, designed to attract the younger generation along with others looking for that first step into premium seating, provide approximately 1,100 seats along the top level of the new north end zone. As with other premium options, Scoreboard Club patrons get a roof over their heads during inclement weather, a food and beverage area, chair-back seating, high-definition televisions and an open-air patio deck that provides space for socializing.
Although the project was built in multiple phases over the last two years, construction was sequenced in a manner that allowed the stadium to be utilized during the 2013 season. Improvements completed prior to the 2013 season included a complete overhaul of the existing west concourse, new vertical circulation, a new pedestrian-level façade, new entrance gates, and an expanded entrance plaza. Additionally, the end zone’s lower bowl was reconfigured to create a new student section that creates a wall of intensity and home-field advantage for the Bulldogs.
In addition to setting a record for fan attendance at the opening game on August 30, 2014, the Bulldogs brought home a 47-0 win over Southern Mississippi. The players and head coach Dan Mullen lauded the high-energy atmosphere that the updated stadium creates for fans and the team.
Coach Mullen told The Clarion-Ledger:
The crowd was here. It was electric. It was loud on the field. Our student body was awesome. Our whole fan base was unbelievable.