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Tons of steel, 427 toilets in UCF's new home

Published: Sunday, July 29, 2007

Updated: Sunday, February 15, 2009 17:02

You can see that it's another beautiful April evening for a baseball game at Jay Bergman Field. You feel a slight breeze as the setting sun has turned the sky into a mixture of reds, yellows and oranges.

The crowd is settling in, getting ready for the Knights to take the field. But while waiting for first pitch, something beyond the right-field line catches your eye.

Columns of black steel stand high above the horizon. Construction is nothing new to UCF, but if you are a fan of UCF athletics, you know what those columns represent: It is the skeleton of UCF's new home for football, Bright House Networks Stadium.

And as you gaze at the centerpiece of the university's new era in athletics, a few questions immediately come to mind: Is that it? Are they sure it will be ready for football season? May we have to move back into the Citrus Bowl?

But from the groundbreaking in 2006 and through this summer, the stadium has taken shape.

Stadium seating for 45,301 people is in place. The seats are mostly of the metal bleacher variety, but the stadium has been designed for a planned expansion to 65,000 seats. UCF students will have 19 seating sections exclusive to them located at the south end of the stadium.

The stadium will also have 21 restrooms featuring 427 toilets and 104 urinals.

The playing field is set with a sheet of hybrid Bermuda grass. All that is absent are the goal posts and any on-field artwork.

The stadium has two big-screen scoreboards. The south end has a digital display scoreboard that measures 50 feet by 8 feet. The north end scoreboard measures 100 feet by 37 feet and will feature a 34-foot-by-22-foot display capable of showing live video and instant replays, as well as game information, player and team statistics, advertising, graphics and animation.

The stadium's west side features the four-level Roth Tower, which includes 24 luxury suites accessible by private elevator. In addition, the tower houses a 4,200 square-foot club lounge with seating for 822, all of which were sold out shortly after stadium ground-breaking. The Roth Tower has the typical college football mainstays, including a spacious press box and broadcast and administrative suites.

The Knights' locker room, located on the south end of the field, is 10,416 square feet and includes separate rooms for coaches, sports medicine, and equipment storage. The visiting team's locker room is on the north end of the field and is 8,129 square feet.

The stadium's concourses will contain 11 permanent concession stands while additional product kiosks will be located throughout the main concourse. The stadium also contains 10 ticket windows, 21 restrooms and a total of 63 video monitors, most of which are high definition plasma screens.

There are 18 stadium gates, all which open 90 minutes prior to kickoff for the general public. Gates will open two hours prior to kickoff for stadium suite patrons and credentialed media or staff.

The logo of Bright House Networks is displayed on the stadium's exterior. The cable company won the naming rights to the stadium with a $15 million, 15-year contract on Aug. 8.

Overall, the stadium's construction will cost about $55 million. Construction and operation of Bright House Networks Stadium was funded through naming rights, ticket and concessions sales, donations, corporate sponsorships, advertising, and revenues from suites and club seat leases.

No public money or tuition fees will be used to build or run the stadium. The university has raised about $29 million in private donations for the stadium.

UCF Football's new home takes up 1,089,000 square feet and is made up of 2,452 tons of steel along with 120,000 tons of concrete. All this created has a stadium that is 725 feet wide by 900 feet long.

Designs for Bright House Networks Stadium were provided 360 Architecture, while the construction was managed by Wharton-Smith, Inc. of Sanford. The stadium seating was erected by the Dant Clayton Corporation.

Yes, everything is coming along smoothly for Bright House Networks Stadium, but it is still missing an extremely key ingredient: football players. That will end with the Knights play their first game in their on-campus home on Sept. 15 versus Texas at 3:30 p.m. The game will be aired on ESPN2.

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