Huskie Stadium to be upgraded

By Logan Love

Huskie Stadium may receive up to $650,000 in upgrades, according to the Finance, Facilities and Operations Committee (FFOC) agenda.

The stadium could see these upgrades before the 2013 season, pending the Board of Trustees’ approval.

The FFOC approved a measure on Thursday that would upgrade the audio system and install LED ribbon boards on the east and west side of the stadium. According to the FFOC agenda, the current audio system is nearly unserviceable and the cost of the project is not to exceed $650,000.

Associate Athletics Director Donna Turner said the Althetics Department is thankful for any improvements made by the Board of Trustees.

“We’re always looking to upgrade the fan experience,” Turner said. “It appears that some improvements may be made to the stadium for the 2013 season that will increase that level for everyone, and we’re receptive.”

Charles Osleber, senior political science major, was excited about the recent success of the Huskie football team and said the potential improvements to the 50-year-old stadium will only add to the program.

“I think it will help greatly in gathering more interest for what could be considered one of the more interesting teams in college football, with the Orange Bowl appearance and consecutive MAC championships,” Osleber said. “While it may seem like an extraordinary amount of money to spend on audio and lights for the stadium, it is a small stepping stone that will benefit the school, team and its fans mutually.”

Osleber also said the improvements could easily pay for themselves, but cost shouldn’t be the only priority.

“Recovering the costs should be a secondary objective in forwarding the school’s football program,” Osleber said.

Keith Miller, senior athletic training major, hasn’t missed a football game since he started attending NIU.

“Maybe something outside for tailgating, there’s no lighting outside the stadium,” Miller said. “Maybe [additional] parking because there’s really nothing there for fans. It’s all kind of hodge-podged.”

Dwight Rutledge, junior political science major, has been a lifetime football fan.

“I definitely feel the upgrade to the sound is needed,” Rutledge said. “As for the ribbons, they will add to the experience and will be able to provide game related info as well as advertising. You see these types of scoreboards in major conference stadiums as well as across many different professional sports.”

Darryl Abankwa, junior mechanical engineering major, wants the money to go toward making the fan experience more comfortable during the low temperatures DeKalb sees in the fall.

“It’s hard to sit down on the metal seats in the cold and watch the game,” Abankwa said. “So what I would want to see is a much more comfortable seat that can withstand the coldness.”

If the Board of Trustees authorizes the upgrades to the stadium, they would likely take place during the summer and fall of 2013, according to the FFOC agenda. The scoreboard in the south end zone will undergo work at the same time. The proposed upgrades would be slated for completion before the season begins.

The next Board of Trustees meeting is March 21.