Demolition of the scoreboard at the east end of Allen E. Paulson Stadium began Monday as preparation begins for the upcoming stadium-expansion and Football Operations Center projects.
Both projects have a planned June 6 construction start date, with expected completion in May 2014.
The removal of the scoreboard, originally installed in the mid-1990s, signals a new era for Paulson Stadium and the Georgia Southern football program.
“The stadium-expansion and the Football Operations Center projects represent the initial steps in our journey into the Football Bowl Subdivision,” GSU Director of Athletics Tom Kleinlein said. “As Georgia Southern continues to grow, it is important that our athletics facilities reflect the same commitment the university has demonstrated with its first-class academic facilities with the new biology building, library expansion and renovations of the College of Public Health and Foy music building, to name just a few.
“We want to ensure that when we become a member of the Sun Belt Conference, our facilities are attractive to prospects, provide a great experience for our fans and student-athletes, and portray the image of the prominent university Georgia Southern has become. This stadium expansion is in line with that philosophy and will include new amenities for all fans to enjoy while maintaining some of the traditions fans expect when they visit Paulson.”
Last fall, students approved a $25 per-semester fee to fund construction of 6,200 new seats, which includes two lower-level seating areas of approximately 1,100 seats each and a mid-deck to accommodate an additional 4,000 seats. When the cost of the seat-expansion project is retired, that fee will terminate.
The additional permanent seating now will accommodate 50 percent of the university’s student population.
The 50,000-square-foot Football Operations Center, which will be between the east end zone and Lanier Drive, will have locker rooms, meeting spaces, coaches’ offices, strength and conditioning, athletic training and equipment.
In addition to serving as the day-to-day center for the team, the facility will include a Hall of Fame exhibit area to display the program’s history.
Two construction zones allow for work to be performed concurrently, beginning with extensive site preparation, followed by pouring of structural foundations.
The new lower-level seating areas will be available for use for the 2013 season. As the stadium seat-expansion project progresses, supports for mid-deck will be installed with a large portion of that work to take place after the completion of the season.
The Paulson Stadium expansion, which will provide additional seating for the university’s spring commencement as well as other events, and Football Operations Center are two of many construction or major renovation projects taking place on the Georgia Southern University campus.
Construction and renovation projects recently competed or under way total more than $120 million.