University of Tennessee (UT) Athletics has delayed planned renovations to the historic Neyland Stadium.
The move comes after a change of hierarchy in the university’s athletics department.
Tennessee director of athletics Phillip Fulmer said that the department will continue to review all aspects of the Neyland Stadium Master Plan Renovations. He said:
To be very clear, I am super excited about the Neyland Stadium project going forward in the near future.
I have been here 10 months and have studied this major project with everyone concerned. I think it is financially prudent and most responsible to delay the start of construction as we allow Audiology and Speech Pathology, currently in South Stadium Hall, to move in an orderly manner. It also allows us not to have additional expense and time pressures on both the university and athletics.
We simply need time to study all ideas of scope and design as we seek to maximize the fan experience and our return on investment for the next 100 years of Neyland Stadium.
Tennessee has always been committed to having the top facilities in the country, and a review of the project allows for more time to ensure just that.
The overall existing plan sequences the renovations in phases by beginning at field level and progressing upward and around by concourse.
At the outset, the plan improves functionality such as enlarging restrooms and concessions stands and better optimising the use of spaces under and around the lower seating bowl. Upon completion of the renovations, Neyland Stadium will retain an official capacity in excess of 100,000.
Originally constructed in 1921 with a seating capacity of 3,200, Neyland Stadium has undergone 16 expansion projects and, at one point, reached a capacity of 104,079 before being slightly reduced by alterations in the last decade.
Most recently, Neyland Stadium underwent a nearly $150 million, three-phase renovation initiated after the 2005 football season and concluded prior to the start of the 2010 football season. Neyland Stadium is the fifth-largest football stadium in the United States with an official capacity of 102,455.