Neyland Stadium, the venue that the Tennessee football team has called home for the past 98 seasons, will be getting a facelift in the near future.
On Friday, Tennessee Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer announced the decision to go through with stadium renovations after putting initial plans set in 2017 on hold.
In a statement from the Tennessee athletic department, the pause allowed a project team to review the plans, as well as the financial costs involved. The Board of Trustees voted to go ahead with the projects that will take place between 2019 and 2023.
“I appreciate the patience of the fans and donors as we’ve worked through a very thorough review of our plans to start preparing Neyland Stadium for its next 100 years of service,” Fulmer said. “I’m very pleased about where we’ve landed. It was important to me that the earliest work of the upcoming renovations focused on areas that impacted the fan experience of everyone in the stadium.”
The first phase of those projects have already taken place in the form of new 360-degree LED ribbon boards. The school also accepted a new SEC policy of stadium-wide alcohol sales which were enacted during the BYU game on Sept. 7.
According to Fulmer, the next phase will start prior to the 2020 season.
“After addressing what we identified as immediate and key enhancements for all of our fans stadium-wide, the renovations then transition to other important features that will positively impact recruiting, fan comfort and enjoyment,” Fulmer said.
In 2021, Neyland Stadium will be celebrating its 100th season. Upgrades by the time of that centennial season will include a renovation of The Lauricella Center for Letter Winners and Wolf-Kaplan Hospitality Center, as well as the fifth-level media facilities in the press box into an open-air lounge area.
Due to the upgrade, the media facilities will be moved to the east press box near the Stokley Family Media Center.
Both radio booths for the Vol Network and the visiting team’s radio broadcast crews will remain inside the west press box, as will the television broadcast booths.
Prior to the 2022 season, the main level-one south concourse will be completely renovated along with the lower-west seating deck. A new LED videboard will be built in the north endzone.
The final phase of construction will conclude with renovations of Gate 4 and Gate 10, which will have an outdoor and indoor visiting area serving food and beverages.
The exterior of both gates will be upgraded in the current style of Gate 21, which was completed in the stadium’s last major phase of construction in 2010.
Per the athletic department release, the cost of these projects will stay within the original $180 million budget that initially approved by the Board of Trustee in November 2017, and will not require any state funding.