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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

May 20, 2010 at 10:49 AM

Woodward talks about the stadium on KJR-AM

UW athletic director Scott Woodward was a guest on KJR-AM this morning on the Dave “Softy” Mahler show to talk mostly about the renovation of Husky Stadium.
Here are a few highlights:
— Maybe the most interesting specific new detail is that Woodward said that the school will have to raise “$50 million dollars” over the next three years to pay for the renovation on top of money that will come from season-ticket sales and premium seating, which he said will be a combination of suites and club seats. He said that there will “be a substantial increase in donor seats and likely make the entire lower bowl donor seats.” He noted that the athletic department has raised over $110 million in the last decade from its donors for other projects, the reason he thinks raising the $50 million is realistic.
— He also cleared up that while there could be a delay in when the football operations center will be built, the plan is that it will open at the same time as the renovated stadium. “We may start it later in the construction process, but when the stadium opens it will be open,” he said, adding it will “be right adjacent to the stadium.”
— He said again that construction will almost certainly start no later than after the 2011 season and the team will play at Qwest Field for just the one season, barring something unforseen.
— He also said again that little about how it will all unfold is set until a developer and plan is approved. “The only thing that is certain is we are going to renovate and re-do Husky Stadium, that is certain,” he said.
— He said the field of possible developers is one that can be counted on one hand. “There are from 2-5 people that have done substantial amount of work in the stadium world that’s what we want people that have done it and been through the process.”
— While there could be an initial reduction in seats, he said that “absolutely” there will always be the ability to expand later if needed. “We will have the ability if the plan comes in like I think or suppose (it will), there are absolutely plans to expand and in my mind always keep that gorgeous view of the East side and Lake Washington so it would be a West side expansion.”
— Asked to describe what a renovated stadium might look like, he noted again that little about the design is set yet so that “the only thing i can paint is that it will be a more comfortable, more fan-friendly, tighter and more exciting stadium than it is. … could look very similar, could look a little different, won’t look radically different.”
— Said again that the “track is coming out and the field will be a little lower get the intimacy get the place even louder than it is”
— He said again that the school will continue to pursue public funding. “We are going to continue to make the case that we pay heavily into these tourism taxes so we feel like we should participate in that pot of money when it comes time to divide it, so we will continue to make those cases.”
— Said again on the issue of naming rights that the words “Husky Stadium” will always be part of the stadium, but that a donor could have the field named after them. So it would be “such-and-such Field at Husky Stadium.”
— Reiterated that prices will be going up but exactly how much has not been figured out yet. “We don’t want to displace fans that have been loyal to us but it’s going to cost a little bit more.”
— He said the student section could move off the 50-yard-line. “It could. Everything is on the table.” But he said the even if moved, the students “will be a key part of how we construct this stadium and how the audio works and how much hell we can raise in the stadium. We have to figure out how we tweak that.”



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