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Carolina Committed funds 2022 Stadium Enhancements
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Carolina Committed funds 2022 Stadium Enhancements

by Brad Muller, Director of Content

Saturday in South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium has always been exhilarating. South Carolina Athletics’ commitment to making that experience even better for its fans is taking another important step forward today, as the Board of Trustees signed off on two impactful improvements, a west main concourse expansion and new elevators.  The next phase in a series of renovations scheduled over the coming years, both projects are slated to be completed for the 2022 season.  These improvements, when combined with the addition of new ribbon boards throughout the stadium bowl and the addition of LED stadium lights, promise to give an exciting new feel to the start of the second year of the Shane Beamer era, while setting the stage for future renovations, as well.
West Concourse Expansion
“We have a great home for football, but there are things that can be done to help modernize the stadium to create more excitement and a better fan experience,” said Athletics Director, Ray Tanner. “We have ambitious goals, and we’re thankful that our Board is supportive of our initiatives so we can get started quickly.  When you consider we just did the largest stadium renovation ever in 2020 and now we are tackling ribbon boards, stadium lights, concourse expansion and new elevators, it’s starting to make a big difference.”

The $2.3M project to expand the west main concourse will be a critical step towards the long-term improvement of Williams-Brice on game days, adding additional square footage for the concourse that serves approximately 14,000 patrons on game day.  This additional space will be imperative for future improvements, as the opportunity to improve concessions, fan movement and restrooms is incumbent on first adding more space to the concourse.  Most significantly, a 5,000 square foot, patio is being added which will expand the concourse behind the current elevators and west towards Gamecock Park to provide a fun, outdoor space for fans to enjoy.  Additionally, two 1,000 square foot pads will be added over the switchback ramps to add valuable concourse space and allow for the relocation of existing concession spaces to improve traffic flow.

“This expansion is a great start; we cannot address the issues with servicing our fans without getting this first phase approved.  There is certainly more work to be done, but we have a long-term vision and are excited about how this project expands a critical footprint in our stadium,” offered Executive Associate Athletics Director, Steve Eigenbrot. “We understand that without more square footage, we can’t start to service all the fans in our home stands and now, we’ve got almost 7,000 additional square feet to work with when we come back and make wide spanning improvements to our restrooms and concessions stands.”
South Endzone Ribbon Board
As for the two new 200-level elevators, the $2.4M addition will be funded through support from donors earmarked to the Williams-Brice Stadium Enhancement Fund.  This fund received support in large part from donors who have recently purchased premium seating and was developed to ensure that future improvements to the stadium can be funded.  The project will relieve existing strain on a three-elevator bank that services both coaching staffs, media and other guests to the press box, as well as fans sitting in the 200 and 600 levels.

“When fans are arriving and when they are leaving, we’ve been forced to take two elevators offline so we can move the coaching staffs up and down from the press box.  That’s tough timing to take offline two-thirds of your operation, adding this bank of elevators is going to make those high-volume times far more manageable and improve the experience for our fans,” noted Chris Rogers, Executive Associate Athletics Director. 

The approved scope of work has been bolstered by the early fundraising success of the Carolina Committed campaign, which will provide the resources for some of the work schedule for next season. Launched last week, this campaign is the most aggressive fundraising campaign in department history. Aiming to generate $35 million through purely philanthropic donations by the end of 2023, the campaign will focus its resources directly on enhancing the South Carolina student-athlete and fan experiences. 

For more information about the Carolina Committed campaign, click here.