» By Isabella Davis
In 1946, APSU opened what is currently known as Governors Stadium.
Now, 66 years later, the state of Tennessee has approved the funding for renovation of this historic landmark. Architects have already been chosen, a date for demolition is set and the long time needed improvements are underway.
The idea of a new stadium has been in the works ever since Timothy Hall became President in 2007. That same year was the Governor’s best football season since 1984, under the new head coach, Rick Christophel.
It was also the first year APSU granted football scholarships since the 1990s. This new stadium is one of many renovations to take place since Hall’s arrival.
According to Christophel, there is more to football than just playing the game.
In order to keep up with the other teams in the Ohio Valley Conference, APSU needs to have a facility that can compete as well as the players.
Designs are already being drawn for the entire home side of the stadium to be torn down and rebuilt, equipped with private boxes, club seats and several other new additions. Demolition is set to begin after the last home game of the 2012-13 football season, and construction should be complete by the first home game of the 2014-15 season.
Both Hall and Christophel agree by providing the school with a better football facility, not only will the campus improve aesthetically, but it will also affect player recruitment and student enrollment and will promote more involvement from the current students and alumni.
According to Christophel, 75 percent of athletic recruitment is about the facility offered to the players. “The world we live in is about what we can see and what we can put our hands on,” he said.
By building a better facility, the school will then be able to bring in better players, which will result in a better team.
This, along with the draw of the new stadium, will hopefully lead to more students attending the games. This in turn will also help to improve the team, because “the crowd is even more important than the facility,” Christophel said.
This will be the first major renovation made in the athletic department since Hall came to APSU and has been a long time coming.
It is an expensive venture, with a cost estimated at around $16 million, but according to Hall the timing is right, and the Tennessee Building Commission agrees.
The funds for the project are being drawn from three main sources: plant funds, bonded indebtedness and private gifts.
The plant funds are made up of leftover money from a wide variety of projects and departments. This money is put into special accounts for the purpose of building and renovations.
The bonded indebtedness is from the state and comes with a payback agreement.
The money used to pay back the bonds will come from two main sources: rental of the new private boxes that will be built and from the APSU students. Private funds were donated to improve the APSU Athletic Deptartment.
Every student enrolled at APSU is helping to fund this project, “and since you are paying for it, we hope you use it to come and support your team,” Hall said.