MSU's $10 million Bobcat Stadium End Zone Project will feature a new grandstand wrapping around the south end zone and adding 5,200 seats taking the 38-year-old stadium's capacity to more than 17,000. Work on the end zone began in January and is scheduled to be completed in time for the Bobcats' first home game on September 10.
The first four of the end zone's concrete risers were poured on Saint Patrick's Day by Missoula Concrete Construction and will be shipped by semitrailer. The company is owned by MSU alumnus, Doug Bauer. Excavation and concrete footing work for the new grandstands also began last week.
The stadium's old risers had been slated for a metal recycler, but the project's general contractor, Martel Construction, of Bozeman, found new homes for them. The risers will go to Ophir School at Big Sky, the soccer fields of Rocky Mountain College in Billings, and motocross clubs in Billings and Gallatin County.
The stadium's 60-foot-high and 38-foot-wide scoreboard will go to Bozeman Senior High School, home of the current state football champs, the Hawks, who had a perfect 13-0 season.
"Martel Construction did a great job of placing these back in the community," said Bob Lashaway, associate vice president of MSU's facilities services. "They deserve all the credit for making this happen. We're really pleased communities around Montana will get use and enjoyment out of the stands and scoreboard."
Under the construction contract, the stands and scoreboard were to be disposed of, but did not stipulate how that should happen. Various entities around the state found out about the disposal of the stands and scoreboard by word of mouth and contacted Martel Construction, said Tony Martel, company president.
"The schools and clubs have to pay to move them, but otherwise they're free," Martel said. "We're really happy that we could help these have a second life. It's really kind of neat to me that everybody can keep enjoying this equipment."
The end zone project was made possible by more than 700 donors, who contributed more than $6 million. The university provided another $4 million as a match that will be paid back from revenue generated by MSU Athletics, including ticket sales.
The fundraising campaign for the end zone was launched in October when an anonymous donor gave $1 million in honor of Bobcat football legend Sonny Holland, who both played and coached for the Bobcats. The Quarterback Club, a devoted football booster organization, played a key role in making the campaign a success, according to university officials.
University officials estimate the project will create more than 200 jobs. The general contractor, Martel Construction, and the project architects, A&E Architects, of Billings and Missoula, are both owned by MSU alumni.
The largest bid package of the project - for the concession stands, locker rooms and support structures - will be opened on March 28.
"It's great to see work progressing on the stadium," said MSU President Waded Cruzado. "I'm looking forward to the first game of the season. The new end zone will make it a truly exciting experience."
Improving the game day experience for fans, providing additional student access to the games, increasing affordability for the community and additional scholarship and financial support for MSU Athletics were the driving motives behind the end zone project, Cruzado said.
"We couldn't have done this without the support of our students, fans, alumni, benefactors of MSU and the Quarterback Club. We're very grateful for all their efforts," Cruzado said.
Contact: Tracy Ellig, MSU News Service, 406-994-5607, email@example.com