April 30, 2012
This feature appeared in the Monday edition of the K-State Sports Extra
By Mark Janssen
Speaking for the Wildcat Nation Saturday morning at groundbreaking ceremonies for the West Stadium Center, it was Mike Goss who said, “Building this stadium is for us!”
The 1981 graduate of K-State said that he changed his speech from Friday night to Saturday morning when he was prepared to speak of handing down improvements from generation to generation. But it was after attending the Friday night auction at Bramlage Coliseum that the Managing Director/COO of Bain Capital, LLC said he was hit with a new realization.
“Generations tend to be faceless and nameless,” Goss said. “Last night I saw the faces of K-State fans who had real names. They were of all ages and all generations. They were all here because of their love for K-State and here because they enjoy spending time with each other.
“This is not about generation responsibility as I first thought,” said Goss of the privately-funded $75 million WSC facility set to open on Aug. 31, 2013. “We’re building this stadium for us. We make that great fan experience that is talked about. I’m very proud to be a part of that fan experience.”
The West Stadium Center is said to be a facility that will be “built to the sky” and one that will serve as the “Gateway” from the northwest to the K-State campus.
Speaking at the ceremony, K-State President Kirk Schulz said, “Construction on a college campus lends itself to vibrancy. When you see cranes and construction, there’s a feeling of ‘… something good is going on here.’ There’s a sense of pride.”
What Schulz wants is for K-State to be recognized as is one of the top 50 public universities in the U.S., and he’s the first to say that athletics and facilities are very much a part of that.
The 250,000 square foot West Stadium Center will include an Athletics Hall of Honor, retail space and a more fan-friendly ticket office, enhanced restrooms by 200 percent and 300 percent for concession points of sale, premium seating including suites, loge seating and club seating, more entry ways into the stadium, a tailgate terrace for the Ahearn Fund members and a dining hall for all student-athletes.
Athletics director John Currie credited head coach Bill Snyder’s vision for the West Stadium Center’s dining facility, which the AD said, “… would benefit all 444 of our student-athletes. When coach Snyder and I sat down the first time in 2009, I asked, ‘What do you need from me?’ He said a sold out stadium and a dining hall.”
Overall, Currie said of the facility, “This will enhance the experience of all of our student-athletes, plus provide the best fan experience in the Big 12 Conference.”
When Snyder took his turn to speak, he made reference on how the “Family” of Bill Snyder Family Stadium stretched beyond his own personal family, but included the entire Wildcat Nation.
“From day one when I arrived at Kansas State, I have always said that this university is about one thing. It’s about the people caring about people, and people earning the trust of others,” Snyder said. “That has never changed.”
Goss added of those special K-State people, “Can you imagine what it’s going to be like on August 31, 2013, when we all walk into that stadium. It will be an absolute blast!”
HISTORY OF THE STADIUM
--The stadium’s first game was on Sept. 21, 1968, which was a 21-0 blanking of Colorado State. The stadium was constructed at a cost of $1.6 million.
--In 1970, expansion included 4,000 additional permanent bleachers on the east side and 3,000 temporary bleachers on the west side.
--Office and dressing room facilities were added to the north end of the stadium.
--Permanent stadium lights were added in 1983.
--The ‘Vanier Football Complex’ took shape between 1989 and 1992 at a cost of $2 million.
--Dave and Carol Wagner donated a new Astroturf for the stadium in 1991.
--A $3.3 million five-level press box opened in 1993 as well as a $2.2 million indoor practice facility.
--A $12.8 million expansion project took place in 1998, which included 8,000 permanent seats, including 31 suites and club level seating on the east side of the stadium.
--From 2003-07 the Vanier Football Complex was renovated to include a new training facility, weight room, equipment room, coaches’ offices, meeting rooms and permanent seating in the north end zone.
--2011 brought the addition of an Astro Turf Gameday Grass 3D playing field, plus additional restroom facilities on the upper deck of the east side of the stadium.