As the semester winds down, students are making preparations to leave campus for the summer. When the students return, the campus, particularly the football venue, will have a completely different look.
Over the past year construction of the new UNH football venue Wildcat Stadium has been an ongoing project. The project kicked off in April 2015 and has been making monumental progress toward a state-of-the-art facility that is scheduled to be ready come August 2016.
“We’ve got it right,” UNH deputy athletic director Steve Metcalf said. “The seating and sightlines are fabulous…I would say in every category we have exceeded our expectations.”
Beginning in May, around the end of finals week here at UNH, plans have been put in place to finish the seating arrangements of the stadium’s west side within the current month. Soon after that, the construction team will get to work on building what Metcalf calls “a visual milestone,” as a brand new video board will be built and installed into the new stadium. That assignment is looking to be finished by the end of June. From there, the crew will put the finishing touches on the indoor facilities so the stadium will be ready to go come summers end.
With all the work that has been put into this project over the last year, and the work that remains to be done moving forward, one thing remains certain: everyone is excited to see the finished product.
“Everyone that [has] gone up into the stadium has been really really impressed with what it looks like and the way things are coming together,” Metcalf said. “I think that will be no different once we put all the fans in there [in September].”
Metcalf also admitted that through the years Cowell Stadium was not one of the best stadiums that the Football Championship Subdivison (FCS) had to offer. But with the anticipation of a $25 million complex, he believes the team will be bestowed a high-caliber football stadium that is rightfully deserved given their performance level.
“For a football program that is as good as ours, to have so much success in such a poor facility is really a testament to our team and our coaching staff,” Metcalf said. “To give them an appropriate venue for the quality of our team; to have a more appropriate quality to our stadium is just long long overdue.”
The Wildcats will play the first home game in the new stadium on Sept. 10 against the College of Holy Cross. As the season and opening day draws closer, there is one goal: create and enjoy a first-class facility.
“I think the [University of New Hampshire] tries to do things first class when they do renovations,” Metcalf said. “If you look down at any campus building, the rec center, it’s the same with the stadium. When we started into this project we did not want to do something that was not appropriate for this campus and I like to think we are going to build quality facilities all over campus.”