SE: Phase 3B Completes Bowl, Adds to K-State's Gameday Experience

For Kansas State fans, it is becoming somewhat of a tradition to enter Bill Snyder Family Stadium with something new to take in.

This season will be no different.

When K-State opens its home schedule against Florida Atlantic on September 17, Wildcat fans will again enjoy an enhanced venue. With Phase 3B of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium Master Plan nearing completion, the upgrades and benefits from it are becoming more visible by the day.

Among the highlights of Phase 3B is a seating change for a significant part of the K-State gameday experience. The Pride of Wildcat Land, the most recent winner of the Sudler Trophy — awarded to the top marching band in the country every two years — will now be seated in the newly built northeast corner.

“A key element in completing this new north end zone corner is highlighting one of the most special traditions of K-State Athletics and Kansas State University, and that is the Sudler Trophy-winning Pride of Wildcat Land band,” K-State Athletic Director John Currie said. “I believe the band at K-State will have the best view of any band in the country.”

K-State’s band, which previously performed from section 26 on the east side of the stadium entrenched in the student section, will now do so in a specially-designed section in the northeast corner. The benefits of the move are vast, and Director of Bands Dr. Frank Tracz marveled at the improvements his members will enjoy while on a recent tour of the new section.

“There’s no question, you’re going to hear us. This is great,” Tracz said, also pointing out the increase in space from the band’s old seating area. “We had kids facing the field and then one (person) in between standing sideways because it’s that tight. They’re going to have some room to breathe and move here.”

The uptick in personal space, Tracz said, should cut down on instrument damage. Also, the section’s angled seating toward the field will make sure K-State fans all over the stadium hear the band perform historic numbers like the Wabash Cannonball, ranked the No. 1 pregame tradition in the Big 12 by ESPN earlier this summer.

Currie said the change should only add to the “greatest fan experience in the country.”

Another highlight of Phase 3B, a $15 million part of the $180 million poured into the Master Plan so far and $210 million in total athletic facility enhancements since 2009, is the completion of the stadium’s bowl. Unlike before, K-State fans now will be able to circle the concourse completely.

"For the first time in our history, our fans will be able to go all the way around the stadium on both the north and south ends,” Currie said. “So that will not only provide access for people in section 28 to get over to section 1 faster, but it should cut down congestion on the south end. Everybody wins.”

Above the northeast corner stands a second Carl and Mary Ice Video Board, offering fans another place to view highlights, in-game statistics and promotional videos.

Underneath the K-State band’s new section are additional amenities, including storage space for The Pride of Wildcat Land.

There will also be a new and improved locker room for the visiting team, which will have its own training room space too. Media for the visiting team will be offered an upgraded space to conduct postgame interviews as well.

“It’s not going to be extravagant and posh, but it is certainly going to be professional and first class as we welcome our visitors to Bill Snyder Family Stadium,” Currie said of the visiting locker room, describing the new interview space as “more comfortable and convenient for our media, and certainly a lot easier environment to work in after a tough loss to the Wildcats.”

Not to be forgotten is the creation of space for officials, a key component in Phase 3B. Officials will have a conference room, locker room and bathrooms available solely for their use in the new space.

"We also want to take excellent care of our officials, and this space will give us, for the first time, some really nice, dedicated space for them,” Currie said. “Part of being a great professional is having professional workspace. The conference room, which adjoins the officials’ locker room, enables our referees to meet before, during and after games to rehash the different calls, situations, and to talk about their own game plan.”

Phase 3B also included the construction of a tunnel underneath the band’s section that allows easy access to the visiting locker room. The tunnel is also tall enough for 18-wheel trucks to drive through, making concerts like the upcoming Wildcat Kickoff music festival featuring Zac Brown Band and Train on September 10, easier to set up for.

Another part of Phase 3B, though it lies on the west side of the stadium, is an adjustment to seating in section 1. With more seats added, section 1 also has been angled toward the field. Additionally, those seated in the section will have two aisles available to exit on as opposed to just one.

The top of section 1 will also include more ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) seating.

“The fundamental principles of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium Master Plan, from its inception in 2010, was improved safety and security for all of our fans and also better access and better ADA seating for our patrons who have difficulty walking or are in a wheelchair,” said Currie of one of the many parts of Phase 3B, which he said upped K-State’s facility upgrades to $210 million, all privately funded, in the last few years. “It’s all because the private philanthropy and the support of the K-State nation for this university.”

We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Corbin McGuire, or K-State Associate AD for Communications Kenny Lannou. To receive the K-State Sports Extra email, sign up here