by Max Brantley
Check out the new $7.3 million press box to be built on War Memorial Stadium in time for the next football season (UL-Monroe and LSU). The construction will include 494 enclosed "club" seats, up from the current 218.
UPDATE: Stadium manager Charlie Staggs says the four-level structure will have club seats on the first level; on the second level, club seats and five suites (for home and away athletic directors and home and away coaches' wives and the stadium management); working press on the third level, and an open photo deck on the top level.
Here's the seating news. The existing 218 club seats were sold in 1967 for life for a $1,000 payment. The new seats will now be sold by the UA as part of the priority seating plan (you pay extra to the Razorback Foundation for good seats). Staggs said he didn't know what premium UA would put on the seats, but it was part of a plan to ensure that Little Rock games come closer to matching Fayetteville revenue, where the stadium holds many more spectators. Current seat holders will have first-refusal rights on the new seats, at whatever price is listed. The stadium will continue to receive $75,000 per game rent and concession and parking income, which will go to pay for the work along with a state appropriation.
Demolition work began this week on the press box at War Memorial Stadium, the new, $7.3 million press box, will be completed by August 15, 2010, just in time for the opening of the 2010 football season.
The current press box has been the heartbeat of War Memorial Stadium since it was constructed in 1966, serving as the hometown hub for local sports announcer greats such as Paul Eells and Jim Elder in which the War Memorial Stadium Home Radio Booth is named. The press floor will also remain named the Orville Henry Press Floor. “The new press box will afford the press and guest of the stadium a more comfortable and technically updated location in which to work and enjoy the games. Many of the greatest moments in Arkansas sports over the past 44 years have been reported from this press box, we are looking forward to enjoying many more over the next 44 years from our new addition.” said Charlie Staggs, General Manager for the stadium.
War Memorial staff began removing all items and the electronic equipment from the current press box immediately following the high school play-off finals which ended last Saturday, December 12. On Monday, Dec. 14 the construction company began moving in and is planning on doing asbestos abatement beginning today.
Upon completion of the new press box it will be available to the public for rent for special events such as receptions, parties, and meetings. The new facility will be four stories tall and feature club seating for 500 it will also offer increased food services and catering for guest.
Architect for the project is Wittenberg Delony & Davidson (WD&D) of Little Rock and the general contractor is KINCO Construction Company, also of Little Rock.