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WEST LAFAYETTE -- Technology waits on no one and Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke gets that message loud and clear.
So, in the never-ending quest to build and improve, part of modern college sports out-do-the-other-guy mindset, Burke has once again targeted Ross-Ade Stadium. To be specific, the south and north ends of the football stadium to make it more in tune with 21st Century reality.
That will mean adding two large video boards, including a giant scoreboard that will, in essence, enclose the south end zone. Texas A&M currently has the nation's largest scoreboard and Burke said during a gathering of John Purdue Club members, in an ideal world, the Boilers' new scoreboard would be just a little bigger. He said it would create the impression the stadium was enclosed.
A state-of-the-art sound system also will be installed to provide a surround sound experience. A new scoreboard -- basically the size of the south end zone scoreboard -- will be installed in the north end zone. A video ribbon boarder also will be added.
Morgan wants to enhance the fan experience, boost attendance and have more reasons to attract high-level recruits.
Burke, whose $70 million renovation of Ross-Ade Stadium was completed in 2003, continues to do everything he can to keep the Boilers' facility competitive. His current contract ends in 2017 and status quo isn't in his plans.
Burke also wants to adjust the seating options for young alums (replace old bleachers with chair-backs, add lights for more night games (a Big Ten emphasis) as well as provide funds for maintenance. The price tag is likely between $30 million and $60 million, although Burke said not to hold him to it until a feasibility study and market survey are finished. The project likely would take two to three years to complete.
Money is likely to come through TV revenues as well as fund raising.
Any Ross-Ade Stadium renovations would architecturally tie in to Mackey Arena. There might be a club area for younger alums (ages 25 to 35) that would include a plaza and chair-back seats. Alcohol likely would be available there, although not in the stadium. Morgan said he's not ready for beer to be sold in Ross-Ade as it is, say, in Cincinnati, where the Boilers opened last season.
At some point Burke still hopes to add a deck on the east side of the stadium. It would add 6,000 seats and replace most of the 7,500 seats set to be lost from the south end zone. That would give Ross-Ade Stadium a capacity of around 64,000.
All this is part of the commitment to restore the football program to Big Ten and national relevance, that accelerated with the hiring of Darrell Hazell as head coach 16 months ago.