Renamed in honor of legendary head football coach Bill Snyder by a proclamation of the Kansas Board of Regents on Nov. 16, 2005, Bill Snyder Family Stadium will host its 42nd season of Wildcat football in 2009. Set on the north end of campus, Bill Snyder Family Stadium and the Vanier Sports Complex have undergone a multi-million dollar renovation that have made them one of the premier football facilities in the Midwest.
Originally named KSU Stadium, the facility was built at a cost of $1.6 million and financed from student fees, athletics gate receipts and contributions. The stadium opened its doors Sept. 21, 1968, with a 21-0 shutout of Colorado State. The original seating capacity was set at 35,000, and an expansion in the summer of 1970 added 4,000 permanent bleachers on the east side and 3,000 temporary bleachers on the west side.
Following the 1998 season, the addition of a deck and sky suites on the east side of the stadium increased capacity to more than 50,000. On Nov. 11, 2000, 53,811 fans witnessed Kansas State’s 29-28 win over Nebraska. It remains the largest crowd to ever witness a sporting event in the state of Kansas.
Bill Snyder Family Stadium’s most recent change include a new FieldTurf playing surface in 2002, the on-going multi-million dollar upgrades to the Vanier Sports Complex and the installation of new video and message boards, including a 23’ X 61’ ProStar VideoPlus display in the south end zone.
Below is a rundown of the other facelifts that have been added during the 37-year history of Bill Snyder Family Stadium:
1970: A statewide fund-raising drive in the spring raised $250,000 for the installation of Astroturf, replacing the original natural grass.
1972: The office/dressing room complex at the north end of the stadium was added. It houses all the K-State football offices and has dressing facilities for the Wildcats and their opponents.
1980: New artificial turf was installed prior to the 1980 season.
1983: Permanent stadium lights were added allowing the Wildcats to play night games.
1987: An addition to the office/dressing room complex was made in the summer of 1987, which provided more dressing and training room facilities.
1989-1992: A $2 million renovation project was undertaken to revamp the entire football complex. The result is one of the most spectacular football complexes in the country, complete with plush locker rooms, a 6,500-square foot weight room, state of the art classrooms equipped with the latest video equipment, a training room, a players’ lounge and the picturesque Big Eight Room. The structure now carries the title “Vanier Football Complex” in honor of the Vanier family of Brookville, Kan.
1991: New Astroturf was laid down prior to the 1991 season, and the field was named “Wagner Field” in honor of Dave and Carol Wagner of Dodge City, Kan.
1993: K-State put the finishing touches on its facility improvements with a $3.3 million five-level press box, including sky suites, and a $2.2 million full-length indoor facility.
1996: The $1 million Academic Learning Center became a part of the Vanier Complex, hosting study facilities for all K-State student-athletes. A $2.6 million project added a 20x26 foot JumboTron Screen, new scoreboards and marquis messageboard to the complex.
1999: Following the 1998 season, the facility underwent a $12.8 million expansion project. An additional 8,000 permanent seats were added, including a club seating area and 31 additional sky suites. The project raised the total capacity of KSU Stadium to over 50,000 with temporary seating.
2002: A new FieldTurf playing surface is installed. The $850,000 project was completed in late May of 2002 and features an innovative sand and rubber infill mixture and is the newest technology in competitive field products.
2003-06: The Vanier Football Complex is in the midst of a major renovation that includes a new training facility, weight room, equipment room, coaches’ offices, meeting rooms, locker room and permanent seating in the north end zone.
2006: New video and message boards are installed at the north and south ends of Bill Snyder Family Stadium at a cost of $1.7 million. Th south end of the stadium receives a fully integrated ProStar VideoPlus display system that measures a whopping 23’ X 61’ and is one of the biggest in college football.
2007: The seating in the lower bowl of Bill Snyder Family Stadium is completely upgraded, including new chairbacks below the press box on the west side of the stadium and aluminium benches throughout the balance of the lower bowl. A new stadium sound system is also installed. NOTE: Prior to the opening of Bill Snyder Family Stadium, the Wildcats played in Memorial Stadium, which opened in 1924 and still stands on the main campus. K-State’s first football home was on a site that is now Bluemont Elementary School (a few blocks east of campus). The first grandstand for that facility was hoisted in the early 1900s by 1890 KSU graduate and Manhattan lumberyard owner Emil Pfuetz.