Terry Mohajir provided us a tour of the A-State North End Zone Project
There is plenty of excitement on the A-State campus.
If you drive down Highway 49, you can see plenty of construction. A-State is updating their stadium that they believe gives the fan a different type of game day experience not seen in college football.
One step in what they call building a monster.
"Long Lasting legacies of families of generations to come to have their loge boxes, to have their seats, to have their suites, to have their club seats. We don't need to have the biggest stadium in America. What we need is the best experience in America and we are creating that," A-State Athletic Director Terry Mohajir said.
It's hard not to take notice of the cranes and bulldozers. The constant hammering.
"I've maintained and confident in saying this. We may not have the largest facilities or the biggest facilities but I can guarantee you there's nobody that has nice facilities."
Mohajir gave great insight, but we decided to take things a step further. We mic'd him and headed for the field. What better way to get great insight then getting a tour from the man that orchestrated the project.
"When the game is down this part of the field you can't get any better experience that this and not only will we have have these two clubs up in the corners and as you can tell with the water features right here as well, just to allow people to have a different experience that's never been done before."
Terry Mohajir is a visionary. As a Red Wolf player, last stepped on the field in 1991. When he returns as Athletic Director in 2012, the football field looked the same. That's about to change.
"We are doing some stuff that nobody in college football is doing and that is having interaction with fans can come down into the tunnel and high five and watch the players when the players are waiting to run onto the field. That has never been done before in college football that I am aware of. If it has someone needs to point it out to me and so to be the first, we talk about laying the foundation of always rising will still be our mantra."
Interaction with the players? I had to learn more.
"There's steps on the inside of the tunnel from the loge boxes that they walk, rails that they walk into so kids won't get trampled on or anything like that. They stand behind but they high five. We have it mapped out, we have the logistics figured out."
"They not only can reach out and touch the players prior to game time they can actually walk down into the tunnel and feel the players and see the sweat and see the passion and see their eyes, getting ready and what they are about ready to do and see the focus. That is unbelievable that is so fun to see, that is what gets me energized."
Arkansas won't play you guys. Arkansas is going through construction, you guys are going through construction, you said nobody else had it, do you have fun and say hey look at what we are doing too?"
"Yeah hey they are doing something different. They are building seats, we are building experiences and ours are not, we are trying to create long family legacies in the north end zone and represent the state of Arkansas."
When you see the trucks out here, as a little kid, I was fascinated by watching that stuff, is it the same for you?
"Yeah Tonka trucks. Tonka trucks. Tonka trucks. I love the Tonka trucks. When we broke ground before the Troy game this year I just kept telling Danny McDaniel our construction partner, bring out the Tonka Trucks. Bring them all out. I want to see them all out there, so the more Tonka trucks out there the better it is and what little boy didn't want to see Tonka trucks right? We've got dirt, we've got Tonka trucks and we've got college football. Can you get any better than that? Can you?"
All kidding aside. Terry got serious again and gave more great insight.
"Height is important, it's not about how many seats are in the stands it's about what's your first level, what's your first row and height is really important and well when you see this facility it will really add something to the stadium because you will have the building in the background, you already have the indoor facility and now you have this beautiful scenery with the premium seats and the clubs up in the corners it'll really change the stadium and the way it looks."
I've always been a fan of architecture. I Keep glancing over to that corner. What do you see?
"What I see is, I see Arkansas I see we are the natural state. I see we have 90 boulders outside the stadium right now waiting to be laid into those water features so these waters can flow over these rocks. These 90 boulders are picked out in central Arkansas and so everything you are going to see here is going to be indigenous to Arkansas and we are the natural state so why not celebrate we are the natural state."
It all sounds great but will it be ready for the season opener, September first?
"We had some delays with the rain. Our construction partners Ransom is working extremely hard and trying to catch up and I really believe like the tower, same company that did the Johnny Allison tower, I really believe it will be ready."