JOHNSON CITY — Twelve years after shutting down its deficit-laden football program, East Tennessee State University has approval to begin construction on a new 10,000-seat stadium.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports the first phase of the $24 million project includes a playing field, stadium seating, concession area and restrooms. A $125-per-semester fee on full-time students is expected to bring in $16 million, the cost of the first phase.

Future phases will include luxury boxes and a field house, but the timing of that construction will depend on the availability of funding.

The State Building Commission approved the first phase of construction last week.

ETSU’s previous football program operated with a $1.2 million annual deficit for years before it was shut down following the 2003 season. The new season opens Sept. 3.