PULLMAN – The Washington State University Board of Regents, meeting in Spokane on Friday morning, gave their final approval for the Martin Stadium remodeling project to go forward.
The regents approved the design of the project on the south side of the stadium and the selling of up to $80 million in bonds to pay for it.
“It’s been a process to educate the regents (on) the importance of this project for our future,” athletic director Bill Moos told a Pullman Cougar Club luncheon Friday. “They were convinced, and rightfully so, we are at a juncture in Cougar athletics, with the conference expanding and with equal revenue sharing, we’ve got a chance to position ourselves to be competitive.
“But if we don’t invest in the facilities, we’re not going to get the talent that can compete at this level successfully.”
Moos declined further comment until WSU’s press conference prior to today’s football game with Utah, but told the luncheon guests the regents’ “vote this morning is, in my mind, a boost for us to move forward.”
The south-side structure will replace the old press box – early aspects of the demolition will begin after the game today, Moos said – and will include premium seating, suites, a meeting room and media facilities.
The new press box is scheduled to be completed by the home opener next fall. The rest of the facility should be done by the Apple Cup next year, which will be played for the first time on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Moos revealed at the luncheon.
“We’ve got nine months to build an $80 million structure on that south side,” Moos said of the ambitious plan. “The plan is, when you go into that stadium the second week of September for our game against Eastern Washington, that whole place will look completely different.
“You’re going to feel like you’re in a major college football stadium.”
When completed, the building will contain 1,269 club seats, 42 loge boxes and 21 suites available to the public.
The football operations building, slated to overlook the west end zone, is still in the design phases and will be presented to the regents in the summer.
“It’s a huge shot in the arm for the whole Cougar Nation,” said football coach Paul Wulff, who played at WSU in the late 1980s. “When I was recruited here in 1984 and 1985, there was talk of building some type of complex added on to the stadium and that was enticing. To actually see it’s going to happen some 26, 27 years later, is very, very exciting.”
Though the operations building has yet to be approved, Wulff sees Friday’s vote as “a critical step” in moving the program forward.
“It’s truly going to give us a competitive advantage which we’ve not had (before) to recruit to,” Wulff said.
Washington State hosts Utah today in the last game before the remodeling project is to begin.