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More Stadium Upgrades on the Way?
With the unveiling of the best recruiting class in school history this week (for the second consecutive year) it is clear that Vandy is beginning to matter. The first goal for the program has to be to unseat the Volunteers as the ultimate school in the state, and with recent trends it is not unthinkable that this could happen. The Commodores after all have a recruiting class which is ranked higher by every major recruiting service and embarrassed Tennessee on the field this year 41-18.
The one element holding the 'Dores back is Vanderbilt Stadium and the facilities there in. Athletic Director David Williams made his feelings clear on the 32 year old stadium recently. "I wouldn't want to say we'll build a new stadium, and quite honestly I doubt that," Williams said. "But I think that in the next two or three years our fans and everybody else will be looking at a vastly changed and improved stadium. My hope is that by this summer, we have a plan as to what we want to do. We realize that for an SEC school, our stadium really does need a lot of work."
The renovations committee is certainly doing their due diligence. The team is going to be visiting eight or so new or recently renovated stadiums to look at design elements and see what aspects would work in Vanderbilt Stadium. Expected ports of call for the group include Cal, Houston, SMU and TCU. Each of these schools is either in the planning stages or has recently finished work on stadiums which are considered among the leaders in new design ideas.
Changes before last season included an increased seating capacity to 40,550, artificial turf, and a new video board, but it reports are to be believed this will end up being only the tip of the iceberg. Williams believes the ideal capacity for Vandy at this point will be something in the 45,000-47,000 range, with the ability to be expanded if future demand increases. Hopefully the stadium changes will also include innovative new ways to integrate technology and that Vanderbilt Stadium can be something that the Commodores can show off to the world.
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