Director of athletics Lee De Leon said construction on the new Wildcat Stadium is on time and almost exactly on budget.
The football stadium, which will cost $44 million, and the soccer stadium, costing $6 million, have a combined budget of about $50 million. With the help of donors, the Office of Advancement has reached about $39 million.
The stadium will hold up to 12,000 people, seating 6000 attendees on the west side, 3000 on the east side, 500 in the press box and suites, and 2500 overflow seats on the north side.
The stadium has five floors, making it the second-tallest building on campus, behind the Tower of Light. The locker rooms will be on the ground level, and above those will be the main concourse, which consists of concession stands, general admission and the public restrooms. The third floor will consist of the club level for donors to enjoy pregame, halftime and post-game festivities. The fourth floor will host the suites, each having a capacity of 20. Finally, the top level will house the press.
Throughout the course of one year at about half completion, the stadium has had around four changes from its initial blueprint.
First, the main concourse is open rather than closed off, increasing visibility of the field from the concession stands. Also, eight outdoor, covered suites, known as loge boxes, will be installed on the club level. On a smaller scale, rather than having eight light poles, there will be six in addition to a row of lights on top of the press box. Lastly, because a donor offered more, the video board will be bigger than expected, making it the fourth largest on-campus board in all of NCAA Football Championship Series.
De Leon also said accompanying the excitement around the stadium is the hiring of the new head coach and winningest head football coach in all of college football, Adam Dorrel.
“When I was deciding whether or not to make a change, the biggest factors for me, going the direction that I did, was that I didn’t feel like we had any momentum around the football team,” De Leon said. “So what I’ve been saying is that if you have momentum around the stadium, you’ll have one great crowd for the first game. But if you have momentum and excitement around a team, you’ll have a crowd for the whole season.”
Not only did the stadium work as a selling point for Dorrel, but it has also helped him recruit new players, such as Cypress Falls High School senior Cordell Iioma.
The defensive end and linebacker led his high school in tackles for loss and sacks throughout all of his high school career. Iioma said he was excited to play for ACU because of what the coaches have planned for the upcoming season.
“I feel like this new class will bring a change to the ACU football team. We will shock the entire conference,” Iioma said.
In addition to the new stadium, De Leon also said he is looking forward to the schedule for the upcoming season. Each year, the football team travels to play Football Bowl Series teams. This season, the Wildcats will face two – New Mexico State and Colorado State. The team will get to play in new stadiums back-to-back weeks, as ACU is the home opener in Colorado State’s new stadium.
“It’s a really exciting time to be a Wildcat and to be at ACU,” De Leon said.
The Wildcats will host Houston Baptist for their first home game at 6 p.m. on Sept. 16.