PULLMAN – Maybe Washington State athletic director Bill Moos appreciates his department’s newest creation because he’s so aware of its predecessor’s shortcomings.
Addressing reporters on the third floor of the almost-completed press box and premium seating structure on Martin Stadium’s south side, his back to the field, views of the sprawling Palouse landscape to his left, Moos said what anyone who’s ever covered a game at Martin Stadium already knew.
“We literally, in my opinion, came from the outhouse to the penthouse,” Moos said after leading a media tour of the new facility with associate athletic director John Johnson on Friday. “And really, that’s what we’re attempting to do with all of Cougar athletics.”
This isn’t a bad way to start.
The new, $65-or-so million structure dominates Martin’s landscape. The shiny, posh, three-level behemoth that will ultimately be completed in fewer than nine months of construction includes about 1,900 new premium seats spread among 21 suites, 44 loge boxes and 1,300 club seats, as well as a new press box.
Moos said after touring facilities at Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and LSU – cutting-edge establishments, all – he decided to “cherry pick” the best ideas from each location and apply them to the project at Martin Stadium.
One of the features of which Moos is most proud is the branding seen throughout the building. The branding endeavor has been ongoing throughout all of WSU’s facilities since Moos’ arrival, but the flashes of crimson sprinkled about the walls of the new structure might be the crowning achievement so far.
There are mural-sized photos of current players. Photos of old players. Photos of old coaches. A black-and-white photo of WSU’s first win over a ranked team, in 1931 over Southern California. Eventually, there will be a list of every WSU football letter-winner on the back of the club-level bar. The coaches club seating area, located on the left side of the third-floor press level, will display photos of every head football coach in school history.
The first-floor club level, which is accessible to all fans with premium seats, features a lounge that serves food, along with a full-service bar stocked with beer, wine and liquor. The WSU Board of Regents approved an amendment Friday allowing the sale of alcohol in the premium seating areas, though the rest of the stadium will remain dry.
The luxury suites are located on the second level. There are 21 of them total, ranging in price from $30,000 per season for a 12-person suite, $40,000 for an 18-person suite and $50,000 for a 24-person suite. The minimum suite lease is three years, with five- and seven-year options also available.
Moos said construction workers were only slowed slightly by weather in the winter months, doubling shift hours when necessary to compensate for delays.
Last-minute modifications and furniture placement still remain. Workers will be on the clock all the way up until the Sept. 8 home opener against Eastern Washington, with the ribbon-cutting scheduled for 8:30 a.m. that day, Moos said.
“I’ve got to tell you, it’s been flawless,” Moos said. “It really has been. And again, I attribute that and credit a lot of people. What we’re seeing here today is really something very special.”