Game days disrupt Faurot Field renovation project

All construction supplies will be moved south of the stadium.
The east side of Faurot Field is under construction for the entire 2013 football season, and once completed will create 5,000 more seats for fans. Renovations are projected to be complete by Opening Day 2014.

Amid an active construction site at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium, Mizzou Athletics is opting for a wait-and-see approach on crowd control and foot traffic.

But first, the construction site needs to be cleared so the area is usable for spectators.

The cleanup process includes laying concrete, covering up exposed areas and moving all equipment to an area south of the stadium. The cranes will festoon the student side of the stadium all season, and athletics officials have debated decorating them for games.

The east side of Memorial Stadium will be an active construction site for the duration of the 2013 season as crews build an upper deck that will have more than 4,000 seats and a club level with at least 800 seats, according to Mizzou Athletics. The renovations will also comply with new Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.

In the meantime, the east side will need to be safe for the thousands of students going to the game, athletics spokesman Chad Moller said. Inspectors will check the area before each home game to make sure it is secure.

The construction on the east side is the second phase of a renovation to Memorial Stadium. For first phase, the rock M was moved closer to the field, and the north concourse was expanded. The west tower was also renovated.

Once work on the east side is completed, the capacity will increase by more than 5,000 seats. For the 2013 season, the official capacity was reduced by 3,880 seats — to 67,124 — due to construction.

During the work, the vast majority of the east side will be unusable, and foot traffic will be impacted, Moller said. In the path to the student entrances are three concrete towers and many more supports. Students will continue to use traditional student gates now situated under the skeleton of the upper deck.

The construction might cause the Tiger's Lair student section to make adjustments to its game day operations, but director Jake Hamilton said he is waiting until after Saturday's game against Murray State to make any judgements.

"We don't know what the construction is going to do for us, and so we want to wait and see," Hamilton said.

Wait-and-see is Mizzou Athletics’ approach as well. While other student entrances will deal with the same problems, Athletics has told Tiger's Lair that everything will work the same way, Hamilton said.

"We have no way of knowing until the first game," Moller said.

If something changes from the norm on game days, Moller said it will be communicated to fans.

Hamilton visited the construction site to hang the Tiger's Lair flag, and he said he thought the stadium will be ready for Saturday.

“A couple days ago, I was like, ‘This is not going to get done,’" he said. "But they have laid concrete, boarded up exposed things. They have had to barricade off some spots where they don't want people, and that's what is going to be difficult for us."

With certain areas off-limits, Hamilton and his team cannot plan ahead because they will not really know what they have to work with until game day.

Hamilton's main concern is getting people in the stadium and line control. The construction might complicate the process, he said, but he thinks it will be good for Tiger's Lair. He plans on using the construction site as a resource to help with line control since the supports can act as physical barriers.

"The new additions are beautiful, and we work around whatever we need to as long as we can get our people into the stadium," Hamilton said. "I'm not worried about it."

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