Williams-Brice Stadium will get a facelift soon that includes an area where fans could be served alcoholic beverages during the game.
The renovations, which were approved unanimously Wednesday by the USC board of trustees, will affect all four sides of South Carolina’s home football stadium. A $750,000 project to renovate the first floor of the Floyd Building on the north side of the stadium is projected to be completed in time for the 2019 season. A $21 million project that will add premium areas to the south, east and west sides of the stadium is expected to be completed in time for the 2020 season.
In total, the renovations are expected to create 9,000 “premium access opportunities,” athletics director Ray Tanner said Wednesday. The athletic department expects to earn more than $1 million annually (after repaying the $1.3 million of annual debt the project will create) by selling the access to the premium areas, Tanner said.
“This project was not designed to create a tremendous amount of money,” Tanner said. “Certainly that’s a concern, but our goal is to enhance our fan experience and create opportunities that are trending across college football. The additional expenses for this access are going to be very reasonable. We are working through the price points now, but our goal is not to maximize what you could obtain, but provide opportunities to create fan experience that is affordable.”
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The changes will not affect the seating capacity of the stadium in any significant way.
The Floyd Building renovation will include concessions that will serve alcohol if the proper licensing is approved, Tanner said. Fans will not be able to see the game from that area or take their alcoholic beverages out of that area, Tanner said.
The 2020 project will include a “2001 Club” for fans in the southwest corner of the stadium. The board of trustees gave phase one approval to that project Wednesday, authorizing $420,000 to be spent on architectural planning.
The Floyd Building project received phase two approval. The Floyd Building currently houses South Carolina’s football coaches offices, but the coaches will move to a new football operations building in January. There are no immediate plans to renovate the second and third floors of the Floyd Building, Tanner said.
“We have some ideas (for those areas), but they were not part of this project today,” Tanner said.
The “2001 Club” will have space for around 350 fans, 144 of whom will have premium loge seating connected to the club and directly above the tunnel where the Gamecocks run onto the field before games. Fans within the “2001 Club” will have field-view access to the game day entry by players. Loge seating provides fans tables with their seats.
The south side also will have a new first floor lounge area that will hold 300 people and a renovated recruiting area for the team. New restrooms and concession areas will be part of the space.
The 100 level of the west side will add a premium lounge for sections 101-109, and the 400 level of the east side will add a club area that can hold more than 3,000 fans. New restrooms and concessions will be added along with both of those renovations.
The university also is working on a master plan for more dramatic renovations to Williams-Brice Stadium in future projects that could include more premium suites. The projects approved Wednesday will not be affected by any master plan additions.