A massive new video board at Williams-Brice Stadium tops the list of three projects next on the drawing board for USC, athletics director Eric Hyman said on Friday.
Saying he feels good about the status of South Carolina’s current facilities improvements, Hyman was able to look toward the horizon in a report to the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee of the Board of Trustees.
In addition to the new video board, USC is planning improvements to the football practice fields and to the softball complex.
“There is not necessarily an order (for those three projects),” Hyman said after the meeting. “They are all coming down the pipeline. The order may flush itself out because one may take a little bit longer than the other, but those are all on the front burner. Those are all things we’re working on.”
The athletics department plans to spend close to $6.5 million for a new video board that will be 124 feet wide and 36 feet tall. The new board would give the Gamecocks one of the four largest stadium screens in the SEC, almost identical in size to the one in Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium.
Mississippi State has the largest video board in square feet (5,217) among SEC schools, and Tennessee is second.
The current video board in Williams-Brice Stadium is 29-feet by 20-feet and has come under much derision from Gamecocks fans. Only the board in Vanderbilt’s stadium has a smaller one in the SEC.
USC’s video board was damaged by a power surge and was inoperative for the first two games in 2005. A crane was brought in to hold a temporary video board for the rest of the season.
The current video board cost $1.2 million and was installed the summer before the 2006 season.
“We wanted to improve the fans’ experience,” Hyman said.
Hyman said there’s no way to know when the new video board would be completed and said his department’s ability to raise money will be the chief factor in the timeline.
“We’re at our borrowing capacity,” he said. “Unless we had an increased revenue stream, I would be very uncomfortable borrowing more money. We only have a finite amount of resources. Our business manager does not drive around in a Wells Fargo truck. You can’t do everything overnight.”
The football practice fields need to be improved specifically in the area of drainage, Hyman said.
Upgrades are required at the softball complex because South Carolina recently completed Carolina Stadium for the baseball team. Title XIV regulations require baseball and softball facilities to be comparable in some areas, such as access to indoor batting cages.