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Letter from A.D. John Currie - August 24

Good Afternoon K-State Fans!

With a record freshman class of K-State students moving into the residence halls this weekend and kickoff just six days away, there is a tremendous energy around MHK! We've been busy preparing for the start of another academic year and are fired up for tomorrow's new student convocation in Bramlage and Week of Welcome pep rally at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The best student section in the Big 12 will be rocking on Friday night -- yesterday we reached the 9,000 mark in student passes sold! This is almost 1,000 more than last year and looking at the student sales number of 5,600 in 2009 shows how far we've come! We are so grateful for the way K-State students support their peers competing on the field and court.

Friday night's 7:30 p.m. sold-out season-opener against North Dakota State, which will air to a national FOX Sports 1 television audience, will be a special night for all K-Staters. I know our fans are excited for the 2013 season and also their first look at the comprehensive improvements of Phase II of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium Master Plan.

Yesterday afternoon I was excited to get a call from Dick Hazen in the state division of facilities management informing me that we had been formally issued our certificate of occupancy for the West Stadium Center. Completing this project in 16 months from groundbreaking to dedication -- and just eight months since the demolition of the old building -- required tremendous teamwork. I want to salute Dick, Diana Hutchinson, Anthony Fadale, Mark Wendland, Brian Love, our state and local fire marshals and all the other inspectors who worked proactively with our construction and design team to keep the project on schedule and ensure our fans and patrons will be enjoying a safe and secure facility.

Earlier this week we announced myriad new initiatives to enhance the gameday experience for ALL of our fans. Click here for the full release. And, thanks to your generous support, we have been able to add several key improvements to Phase II in time for this season - in addition to the massive West Stadium Center structure.

I will send out a variety of tweets in the next six days touching on some of these improvements and initiatives you will find in Bill Snyder Family Stadium this fall. Let's start off today with the expanded south concourse.

With the anticipation of additional traffic to and from the west side of the stadium and with our Wildcat families who attend games in mind, we made a significant investment - roughly $925,000 - to enhance the south concourse. To alleviate congestion along the area -- especially with increased traffic to the new restrooms, concession stands, K-State Super Store and Hall of Honor on the west side -- extensive renovations have been made.

The pathway formerly between the stadium and Bramlage Coliseum has been incorporated into the south concourse now allowing fans to remain within the stadium and walk behind the south concessions tents without navigating through lines or other fans entering the south end zone sections.

Additionally, a plaza area featuring patio tables and a grassy embankment has been developed near a reconstructed Gate M on the southeast corner of the stadium providing an area for fans and families to relax.  Fans who wish to travel between the east and west parking lots during tailgating hours may utilize the Bramlage Coliseum concourse, which opens along with parking lots five hours before kickoff.  Opening the north Bramlage concourse was a tremendous hit last season as it provided a cool (or warm) spot for fans to take a break from the outside elements and access indoor seating, restrooms and concessions.

You can check out the expanded south concourse by clicking here for a video tour as K-StateHD.TV video producer Jay Moline and I walked through this area on Thursday. Don't worry -- the tables will be here before gameday!

Our student-athletes are working hard preparing for the season, as are our band, cheerleaders and Classy Cats! I visited with our volleyball team after "two-a-day" practice Wednesday afternoon, dropped in on cheer practice in the Indoor Practice Facility on Thursday evening after the volleyball Purple and White game, and had the opportunity to speak to the Pride of Wildcatland Band at its practice in Memorial Stadium. Dr. Frank Tracz and his staff have assembled the largest band in K-State history -- over 400 strong -- and let me tell you they were working hard!

This afternoon Coach Snyder has asked me to speak to our football team and then I'll be heading over to the Geary County Catbackers event at the Munson Ranch -- come join us for a great burger!

It's almost game time, and I can't wait!

Have a great rest of the weekend, and stay tuned for more West Stadium Center updates.

Go Cats!

John