Local media on Tuesday got a tour of the soon-to-be unveiled $75 million expansion on Davis Wade Stadium. Photo by: Adam Minichino/Dispatch Staff
August 27, 2014 10:44:59 AM
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin simply smiled and shook his head.
When asked Tuesday afternoon about his favorite aspect of MSU's soon-to-be unveiled $75 million expansion to Davis Wade Stadium, Stricklin had a hard time choosing.
"To be honest, I love the brick on the outside façade," said Stricklin, speaking near the end of a one-hour media tour of the stadium. "But there are so many impressive aspects of this. From the new scoreboard level to the gridiron level -- which offers a new view in the end zone -- to the fact that the entrances now present a bigger sense of arrival, there's so much here to be proud of.
"It truly has stayed true to the vision that we set out to create when this started, and I am especially proud of that."
Stricklin and a number of MSU staff members led a group of about 25 media representatives throughout the stadium's glistening new north end zone expansion, a project that has produced over 7,000 additional seats and a completely revamped aesthetic presentation to Davis Wade, the nation's second-oldest on-campus football facility.
The tour included stops at MSU's new scoreboard level, which contains nearly 4,000 seats; the gridirion level, which offers fans an opportunity to view the game from field level for the first time; and 22 new premium suites.
The expansion, which was announced in 2011, will open for the first time as part of MSU's season opener against Southern Mississippi.
"It's exciting, huge for our program," said MSU head coach Dan Mullen, who is 36-28 in five years in Starkville. "It will be a thrill to see it full, to run out of that tunnel and have our guys look up at over 60,000 fans from Bulldog nation. That gets me excited."
Saturday night's game, which is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on the SEC Network, will likely set a new stadium attendance record, as capacity is now listed at 61,330. The current record crowd in Starkville is 58,103, set in 2009 against Alabama.
For Stricklin, who conducted Tuesday afternoon's interview standing just yards away from Mississippi Plaza, which welcomes fans into the new north end zone entrance, Saturday night's opening has been the source of a few anxious moments.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brandon Walker @BWonStateBeat.
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