On January 11, during the James Madison University Board of Visitors’ meeting, university officials presented Phase I of the planned expansion for Bridgeforth Stadium. These stadium expansion plans are included in both the Athletic and Recreational Master Plan and the University’s Master Plan.
Currently, Bridgeforth Stadium seats 15,778, a capacity that has served the university very well for a number of years, according to JMU Athletics Director Jeff Bourne. As the university continues to evolve, additional capacity will be necessary not only to meet the needs of the football program, Bourne said, but also to accommodate larger commencement crowds and other special events.
JMU Master Plan
The Bridgeforth Stadium expansion is one component of JMU’s Master Plan. Other planned projects include a Performing Arts Center, renovation of Rockingham Memorial Hospital, a new baseball-softball complex at Memorial Hall, recreational and athletic fields along Port Republic Road and a biotech facility which will be named Centennial Hall.
According to JMU Senior Vice President of Administration and Finance Charlie King, there has been no permanent enhancement to the stadium seating in 25 years and sold-out events during Homecoming and Family Weekend have required temporary seating in the end zone. King said the existing facility also lacks appropriate infrastructure for support services, has inadequate press facilities and insufficient stadium lighting.
“Bridgeforth Stadium is one of the cornerstone facilities on campus,” King said. “This expansion, which began with the Robert and Frances Plecker Athletic Performance Center, will address a variety of space needs and help create a game-day atmosphere with new levels of excitement, spirit and pride for the Dukes.”
Phase I construction is scheduled to begin in 2009 with the majority of the project work taking place during each off-season. The stadium expansion is set for completion prior to the 2011 season. Football season ticket and student seating accommodations will be maintained throughout the course of the expansion.
Features of the expanded stadium will include:
Ø The demolition of the existing west stands (Home side) of Bridgeforth Stadium and the re-construction of a two-tiered complex in its place
Ø Construction of 4200 permanent seats, restrooms and concessions in the north end zone
Ø Additional phase I seating will total 9,100 bringing total capacity to 24,878
Ø New premium seating such as suites and club seats
Ø Additional seating that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act
Ø Increased fan amenities such as concourses, concessions and restrooms
Ø Relocated press box in the west stands
Ø Increased stadium lighting