July 18, 2008
One of the posters ("spoidkills") on DawgPost.com's message board posted an interesting, hypothetical image of what Sanford Stadium would look like with a new expansion at the open, bridge end of the stadium (click image to enlarge).
As you can see, his image maintains the view from the bridge by elevating a new upper deck high enough over the existing seats as to leave a view into the stadium. He envisions using some sort of column structure to support the massive weight of a new upper deck.
Unfortunately, the expansion might still leave the ability to see into the stadium; however, the view of campus from inside the stadium would be shot to hell.
How would it work?
I'm clearly no structural engineer, but this might not be so far fetched. The existing 600 level at Sanford Stadium is essentially a free standing structure with platform and deck on top. The image below shows how they built it (side view from OnlineAthens.com):
Why couldn't you use a similar column supporting structure to support a new deck at that end? Of all the conceptual designs that I've heard described, this one makes more sense than most.
How many seats would it create?
In his post, he estimates that this type of expansion might add 15,000 seats. As a point of comparison, the 1981 expansion that enclosed the railroad track end of the stadium (upper and lower level) added 19,000 seats in 1981.
As further comparison, the new endzone upper deck at Bryant-Denny Stadium added 8,300 seats, and it looks roughly the same size as the diagram above....if taken literally. My guess, we'd be adding 7,000-9,000 new seats. Thereby pushing our capacity to approximately 100,000.
I think I remember seeing that the ticket office delivered 9,000 refunds for season ticket holders. So, there is probably demand to fill these seats with contributors.
I'm beginning to think that Stadium Expansion is an eventual necessity / reality, and I don't think that wrapping the 600 level around makes any sense. First off, what would you do with East Campus Road? Secondly, 600 level seats in the end zone would essentially be an entire football away from the 50 yard line. I sort of explain that here.
To be clear, there's no evidence that any sort of plans like this are in the works. It's just a "what if."
But it's something to think about. What's your reaction to this conceptual design?