Construction crews worked late nights and early mornings all summer to finish the Martin Stadium renovation project on time for the Cougars first home game this weekend.
Each day, two shifts of crews continued to make progress on the new press box and luxury seating. The first shift would begin at 5 a.m. and the other would not end until 2 a.m.
Many crew members spent six or seven days a week on site to help finish construction on time, said Glenn Davis, a foreman on the project.
“We usually figure probably 9-12 months for a project like this,” Davis said.
They had to finish in six months instead, he said.
While the strict timeline provided one challenge to the renovation’s completion, the unpredictable weather of the Palouse provided others. Heavy snow all the way into April this year caused delays on the roofing and other projects.
The project leaders also had to make some tough decisions about changes in plans along the way, Davis said.
Originally, the new seating was meant for the northern side of the stadium. However, project leaders decided to move it to the south in order to accommodate the press box and provide better views of the Palouse for the audience.
It also places premium ticket holders nearer to covered parking in the Fine Arts building.
Construction began with the demolition of the old press box shortly after the last game at Martin Stadium in late November, said John Johnson, the senior director of WSU’s Athletics Department.
“It was constructed thirty-some years ago as a temporary structure,” Johnson said. “It was inadequate.”
University officials anticipate the new luxury seating and press box will help attract fans and future recruits to Martin Stadium.
All 21 of the new luxury suites are sold out. Each holds 12-24 viewers and includes private refrigerators, restrooms and operable windows.
The loge seating is also sold out, along with most of the 1,181 new club seats.
The new 10,000-square-foot club room features elevator access, concessions, catering and a full bar.
“The whole project is well-designed,” Davis said. “I’m pretty proud to have worked on it.”
Johnson said the new press box and premium seating now rival anything at other PAC-12 stadiums.
And in October, the WSU Board of Regents will decide on a request to upgrade the west end zone with new locker, training and equipment rooms, plus offices for the football staff.
They hope to begin construction in January, Johnson said.