New Hampshire Football Report

UNH stadium takes next step

Insider125It won’t be long now before the stadium seats arrive.

The 2016 season and a new era of UNH football will follow in a matter of months.

UNH director of athletics Marty Scarano unveiled the Victory Club that will be a showcase in the new Wildcat Stadium a couple of weeks ago. Scarano and Jon Danos, senior associate athletics director for external affairs, presented details about the Victory Club and various football season ticket options to an enthusiastic audience of UNH supporters at an introductory event in Portsmouth.

“Opening a new stadium is an extraordinary event and it happens so infrequently that it’s incredibly exciting,” Danos said at the event. “I think you can feel that in the room tonight. It’s been excellent.”

Last week, a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium revealed a facility that is well on its way to its September debut as the new home of the nationally recognized Wildcat football team.

The construction site buzzed with activity as workers continued to frame walls on the interior of the facility, masons toiled behind walls of plastic designed to protect them and their materials from the weather and other workers carried out various tasks throughout the building.

“The first week of April, the bleacher system should start to go in,” said Steve Metcalf, UNH’s deputy athletics director who oversees the stadium project. “Getting the bleachers in is a significant milestone. That’s a big deal. It will start to look like a finished product then.”

The start of bleacher work will roughly coincide with the start of spring football practice.

Spring football begins on April 5 and concludes with the annual Blue-White Spring Game on May 7.

The stadium project is on pace to be done by the middle of the summer.

“We should have substantial completion by the end of July,” Metcalf said. “The first two weeks of August we should get a certificate of occupancy and be able to move some furniture in and then we should be furnished and open for business at the middle of August.”

UNH opens the football season on the road at San Diego State, an FBS school, on Sept. 3.

The Wildcats open their new stadium with a game against New England rival Holy Cross on Sept. 10.

UNH has four other home games scheduled for the regular season: The Wildcats also have games set for Saturday, Oct. 1 against William & Mary (Homecoming), Saturday, Oct. 15 against James Madison (Family Weekend), Saturday, Oct. 29 against Stony Brook and Saturday, Nov. 12 against Albany.

The weather thus far has been cooperative.

“A tough winter could have slowed us down and cost us more money,” Metcalf said. “The winter so far has helped keep us on schedule and on budget.”

Construction was held up on a ticket plaza at the tennis court end of the stadium when a 30-by-50 foot video board was added to the stadium and it became necessary to incorporate the board into the design of the plaza.

Framing work continues on the top floor of the stadium where sections for the home and visiting athletic directors, press box, home and visiting and student radio, home and visiting coaches and television cameras have all been partitioned off.

The next level down features the Victory Club, suites and a pair of outside patios.

Numerous windows for concession stands have been framed out on the wide concourse on the level below that.


Follow Allen Lessels, the UNH Insider, on Twitter: @UNHInsider

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