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Stadium expansion to make its debut; conference rivals follow

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Scott Watkins

Staff Writer

Troy’s Veterans Memorial Stadium has long been considered one of the Sun Belt’s top football venues, and the latest expansion further establishes that narrative.

In the midst of college football’s perpetual arms race, Troy is putting the finishing touches on a new north endzone expansion costing the university approximately $25 million. 

It is the third major renovation the stadium has undergone since it was built in 1950.

The new facility has been under construction since the end of the 2016 football season and is on track to be open to the public in time for the season-opener against Boise State on Sept. 1 according to Athletic Director Jeremy McClain.

The new venue comes complete with a new locker room, weight room and lounge area for football players and staff. In total, around 70,000 square feet of new space will be put to use by the football program.

While the facility provides the team with a boost in recruiting power, the stadium atmosphere level will also rise.

The project completely encloses the stadium and will help trap the gameday noise inside and onto the field.

A brand new video board is up and running and at 35-by-90 feet, it is nearly three times the size of the one in the southeast corner.

In addition to the indoor amenities, 402 club-level seats top the building and provide a lifted view of the on-field action.

The new seating gives the stadium a capacity of 30,402, which currently ranks fifth in the Sun Belt. This also means that 92 percent of Pike County could find a seat inside The Vet.

While Troy’s single game attendance record sits at 29,278, the Trojans are aiming to be the eighth Sun Belt school to reach 30,000 against Boise State.

Troy isn’t the only Sun Belt school undertaking a large-scale stadium expansion, however. 

Out in the West Division, Arkansas State is expanding its north endzone as well. A new facility is being built that will feature a pair of waterfalls in the stadium corners. 

The new $29 million facility is replacing the previous north endzone stands but stadium capacity will not drop below 30,000 with new club and lodge seating being added, according to athletic director Terry Mohajir.

Back in the East Division, Coastal Carolina is in phase two of its expansion as it continues its transition into the FBS.

Brooks Stadium was expanded to seat 15,000 before the start of the 2017 season and is currently working on adding another 5,000 seats and a beach deck.

Schools across the Sun Belt are racing to upgrade their most prominent buildings. 

Georgia State is entering its second year at Georgia State stadium, South Alabama has plans to build an on-campus stadium and Louisiana-Lafayette has recently proposed a stadium renovation.

While schools spend to better the atmosphere, the product on the field is the ultimate money maker. 

The Trojans will look to live up to the hype of the new renovations against the Broncos on Sept. 1.