Abby Harrison, Correspondent
The construction process is steadily underway for the new facilities coming to Burgess-Snow Field. In the July meeting, the JSU Board of Trustees officially approved the construction and budget plans for the 80 million dollar project to build a new cafeteria and residence hall, bringing an additional 350 new rooms for students.
“Everything is still on schedule. We are moving forward. The architects are hard at work in the design process. The developer, RISE, is looking at selecting contractors and getting ready to move forward in laying out concept design for how the rooms are going to be,” said Jim Brigham, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration at JSU.
The project is being financed and built by the Jacksonville State University Foundation. Because the University finances are not affected, construction will be much faster. Plans to start demolition to the stadium will begin after this year’s football season. The University hopes to have the new facilities opened by the fall of 2023.
The project is centered around improving several residential issues for students such as a lack of living spaces and common areas, issues with parking, and overcrowded cafeterias. Mr. Brigham is especially motivated to create new spaces that will bring students to Jacksonville and give them a reason to stay. “We’re constantly looking for opportunities to put something else in for students,” Brigham said.
While the residential life of students is the main focus for the stadium construction, JSU Athletics will also benefit from the plans. The fieldhouse at the stadium must be knocked down to make room for the new facilities, so the football team will be getting a new locker room and new offices for staff. The visitor’s side bleachers will also be seeing some changes in seating areas with stadium capacity going from 24,000 to 20,000.
The new design of the stadium will also bring a new look for JSU gamedays.
“The football team is gonna be at the level where we will have the ability to play some bigger games at home, bring in some nice teams and have the capacity to have a real fun day for our students,” said Brigham.
Several members of the football team are excited to see how the new facilities are going to affect the atmosphere of games in the upcoming years. Freshman tight end Jacob Jenkins is especially ready to play in the finished stadium.
When asked about how the new stadium will change the energy of game days at Burgess-Snow, Jenkins said, “The atmosphere is always amazing, but with the COVID restrictions gone and the new facilities, I feel more fans will come out with more energy and excitement to see us play in the facility and have a different type of energy. As a player we try to focus on the game and task at hand, although it will be nice coming out and seeing the new field and the fans all enjoying it with us.”
Nahum Horton, defensive lineman, also commented on how fans will react to the new facilities. “People love new things and new surroundings, so I think the players and fans will be more lively to be in a new environment and will want the first game to be a record breaker,” Horton said.
Though the project is still in the early phases, both staff and students are interested to see the new additions to the campus in the next few years. The university is excited to be able to create projects that will improve campus life, and students can expect to see more new facility ideas in the future.