JONESBORO, AR (ASU) – Arkansas State saw its Centennial Expansion construction project take a momentous step forward Tuesday afternoon when the final iron beam was placed on Centennial Bank Stadium's new press box in a “topping off ceremony,” continuing a drastic transformation to the face of the Red Wolves' home stadium.
Donning ceremonial hard hats with the Ramsons construction company's logo on one side and an A-State logo on the other, A-State dignitaries gathered with Red Wolves fans amidst the construction equipment and materials surrounding the west side of Centennial Bank Stadium for the milestone event.
A-State Director of Athletics Terry Mohajir, Chancellor Dr. Tim Hudson and Head Football Coach Blake Anderson addressed the crowd before signing the final iron beam alongside all those in attendance. Once signed, the beam was hoisted into place on the press box's top level as applause and cheers were heard from the crowd.
“This is another exciting day at Arkansas State,” said Mohajir. ?“This beam represents more than just one of the Centennial Expansion project phases - it marks an era of an emerging university and athletics department. We are building a statewide, regional and national brand. This is another symbol that we are on course to become one of the top programs in the Group of Five.”
Arkansas State held a press conference on August 26, 2014, announcing the largest donation in A-State Athletics history, a $5 million gift by alumnus Johnny Allison being used in conjunction with Centennial Expansion.
Construction and renovations to the stadium's press box and west-side concourse began before the end of the 2014 football season and will be completed prior to the Red Wolves' 2015 home opener against defending SEC East champion Missouri. The construction project's general contractor, Ramsons Inc. of Jonesboro, and subcontractors continue to carry out multiple work shifts that have kept the aggressive timeline for completion on schedule.
The entire project, including the press box and concourse, will cover over 40,000 square feet. The Centennial Expansion project will include a complete overhaul to the stadium press box, expanding it from 7,120 to 38,000 square feet.
“The Centennial Bank Stadium expansion is a strong example of the many exciting initiatives occurring on this campus that continue to enhance our position as a destination university,” said Hudson. “This progress is only possible with the support of our Trustees, benefactors, fans and the Red Wolf nation, which continues to rise.”
The press box will be redesigned to include 42 loge boxes, 20 suites, a club area covering close to 8,000 square feet and 344 club seats in its revenue-generating areas. The response by the community has been positive to say the least, considering that all loge boxes and suites are already sold out and over 75 percent of the club seats have been purchased.
“The west side Centennial Expansion will really bring an added element to Red Wolves Football games,” said Executive Director of the Red Wolves Foundation Adam Haukap. “The premium seating areas will allow our fans to watch football games in a new way, but also allow us to connect with our fans and donors in new ways. We've had an overwhelming response, and our fans are excited for the 2015 season and the updates we have made.”
Not only will depth be added to the press box, it will span from approximately the 18-to-18 yard lines, allowing for enhanced media, coaching, broadcasting, control booth, visiting athletics director suite, and camera areas.
The project also calls for major improvements and additions to the concourse bathrooms, concessions, gating and ticketing areas that will enhance the game-day experience for all A-State fans.