Phase Three of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium Master Plan, at an estimated cost of $65 million, will feature a new Vanier Football Complex structure that is considered pivotal in maintaining and securing K-State's competitive future and enhancing the overall experience of K-State student-athletes. It will also include a new north end zone seating area and northwest video board as the department continues to offer grass-roots improvements to the Best Fan Experience in the Big 12.
Phase One of the master plan was completed prior to the 2011 season with the addition of new restrooms to the east-side upper deck and a new AstroTurf playing surface on Wagner Field, while Phase Two was completed last fall with the opening of the transformational West Stadium Center.
"With more than $125 million of facility improvements completed in the last 24 months and the excitement of our fans, evidenced by the current string of 13 consecutive football sellouts, it is imperative that we build upon the tradition and success of our program under Coach Snyder's leadership and the passion of our fan base," said Athletics Director John Currie. "The grass-roots support of our fans coupled with philanthropic leadership will allow us to fund this phase of our master plan and significantly enhance not only the world-class experience of our student-athletes and the national visibility of Kansas State University, the city of Manhattan and the state of Kansas but also the terrific fans that will help make this a reality. This new facility and seating enhancements will show that we are fully committed to furthering our position as a leader at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics as well as playing a contributing role to the tremendous progress President Schulz and our campus community have made with several recent construction projects towards the K-State 2025 goal of becoming a Top 50 public research institution."
Head coach Bill Snyder understands the significance of such a project which has been made possible by the passion and support of the entire Wildcat family.
"We are all so very grateful to Jack, Donna, John, Mary and Marty Vanier for their monumental gift to our program and to so many others who have helped with very generous donations to this important project," said Snyder. "These again are people who so readily represent the fact that Kansas State is about people who genuinely care about people."
The new Vanier Football Complex and North Stadium not only will serve as home for K-State Football but will also better serve the needs and enhance the experience for all 450 Wildcat student-athletes.
Among the improvements in the facility will be a new Academic Learning Center, which will be more than twice the size of the current facility, and an 18,000-square-foot Olympic-quality Strength and Conditioning Center which will include multi-story ceilings with natural light, and a nutrition center or "fueling station" for all student-athletes. In addition, a new sports medicine and recovery facility will house state-of-the-art hydrotherapy and recovery pools in addition to the latest examination, recovery and physical therapy spaces and tools.
The football program will benefit from a new 140-seat team theater, individual position meeting rooms and new offices for the coaching staff that will overlook Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The team will also welcome an impressive new football-shaped locker room which will be more than twice the size of the current space.
"The current Vanier Complex, which houses both our football and Academic Services operations, has served our program well, with eight renovations and additions since its original construction in 1968," said Currie. "It is time for a major upgrade to better position not just the football program, but also enhance the experience of all 450 of our student-athletes in our 16 sports whose scholastic and athletic pursuits are supported from the Academic Learning Center, sports medicine, strength and conditioning and equipment infrastructure located in the north end zone. Every Big 12 school and most of our peers at other colleges have made tremendous recent investments in these areas."
The new north seating bowl will include enhanced sightlines, new ADA seating and will be connected to the current east- and west-side stadium concourses for access to entrance gates and stadium concessions and restrooms. Perhaps most importantly, fans will continue to maintain a visible connection to the team tunnel to carry on this tradition between the team and our grass-roots fan base.
"This portion of our stadium will not be about premium seating or about generating additional revenue," Currie added. "It will be about providing K-State families with a lifetime of incredible K-State game day memories."
The project will be led by the world-renowned sports design firm Populous in conjunction with the Construction Management team of Mortenson & GE Johnson Construction. With continued momentum in the funding campaign, K-State's goal is to break ground following the 2014 football season with an estimated substantial completion in time for the 2015 football season.
Currently the plan is to complete the construction of the north end zone seating area and Vanier Football Complex in time for the 2015 season. Additional plans call for construction of a structure on the northeast side of the new facility by either the 2016 or 2017 season, which would house visiting team locker, training and officials areas, plus additional office space as well as a new video board on the northeast end of the stadium, which will mirror the new board that will immediately go up on the northwest side of the stadium.
No tax or tuition dollars will be used, as the facility will be funded by the generosity of K-Staters through leadership gifts, grass-roots fan support and other department revenues.
"This is an exciting day for Kansas State University," said K-State President Kirk Schulz. "These stadium upgrades will have a tremendous impact on the entire Wildcat family, including enhancements to the Academic Learning Center promoting continued excellence in the classroom for all of our student-athletes and furthering our commitment to a great fan experience. We are grateful to the Vanier family and the many other faithful, generous K-State supporters for helping us move forward to becoming a Top 50 public research university by 2025."
While more than half of the $65 million in necessary funding has already been secured, it is imperative that Wildcat fans continue to contribute, at any level, and be a part of the Vanier Football Challenge campaign to help K-State remain a national leader in college athletics. The funding plan currently calls for $50 million to be privately funded through philanthropic giving with the remaining $15 million coming from other department revenues.
"Thanks to the amazing generosity of the Vanier family and many other K-State leaders, we have incredible momentum leading into this public phase of our campaign," Currie added. "In addition, we as an Athletics Department plan to tighten our belt even further for the next couple of years and put all we can into making this the best facility of its kind in the country, but we still need your help. To use a sports analogy, we are set up for the game-winning score and we need the Wildcat Nation to be a part of the winning drive for K-State's future. Let's take this step forward together with the Vanier Football Challenge and continue to show that K-State Athletics is committed to competing not only in the Big 12 Conference but at the highest level of all of intercollegiate athletics."
More details, including photos, an introductory video and information on how to contribute to this transformational project, are available here.