Richard Johnson, Wofford's athletics director, tours new stadium
Just behind Gibbs Stadium, home of the Wofford College football team, the next phase of Wofford athletics is rising from the ground.
The college has targeted Sept. 1, 2017, as an official opening date.
“It really is going to be, we think, an impressive building to walk into,” said Wofford Athletic Director Richard Johnson. “What we designed is something for the 21st-century college student and college fan."
The facility will be home to the college’s basketball and volleyball arena, and will include locker rooms for home and visiting teams, a training room, coaching offices and team meeting rooms.
Men's and women's basketball coaches, as well as women's volleyball and lacrosse coaches, will have offices in the arena.
The basketball arena, at 3,400 seats, will be joined by a 500-seat volleyball venue inside the facility.
Johnson said Wofford officials are still figuring out when the first basketball game will be played at Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium.
A seating capacity of 4,500 will be possible for non-athletics functions such as commencement and concerts.
Once the indoor stadium is complete, Ben Johnson Arena will be used for campus recreational and intramural activities.
It was unclear how much money Richardson is putting into the arena's completion, but college officials estimate it's several millions of dollars.
“He (Richardson) was emphatic we build the best," Johnson said.
During a tour for local media Tuesday, the buzzing of saws and the clang of construction equipment reverberated among the steel beams of the structure.
Rows of concrete seating already surround what will be the basketball court, which currently is mostly mud.
Two ticket offices will be included in the lobby, along with an escalator to take people up to and down from the seating area.
“One of the things Mr. Richardson wanted in our charge was to create the best basketball facility for a fan, so when you come in, there’s no bad seats,” Johnson said. “There has been no corners cut in the design of this facility.”
Josh Young, project manager with Robins and Morton Construction, said between 15 and 17 subcontractors are working on the large project.
The same firm built the basketball arena at Auburn University, Young said. Being able to work with clients such as Wofford and Richardson who are extremely invested in the outcome has made the process a major one for Robins and Morton, he said.
“This is a big deal for us,” he said.
Inspired by a visit to Duke University’s Cameron Indoor Stadium, celebrating its 75-year anniversary, the design for Wofford’s arena has been created to last at least as long as Cameron, if not longer, Johnson said.
“We fully expect this to be a 100-year building,” he said.