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Stadium expansion advances as planned

Construction crews continued work on the renovation and expansion of the Carl Smith Center at Scott Stadium over Winter Break and Assoc. Athletics Director Mark Fletcher said the expansion project is entering its final phase.

"We'll be completing the upper deck of the south end" of the stadium and creating two north wings, expanding and renovating the press box and the president's box, as well as finishing work on the stadium's 44 suites and new concessions and restroom facilities, Fletcher said.

Richard Laurance, director of the Carl Smith Center expansion project at Scott Stadium, said there was "continued structural work on the upper-level seating in the south end zone" as well as "structural caissons for the parking garage in the south end zone."

Laurance said the rebuilt-Bryant Hall at the south end of the football stadium is already being employed for football operations on its first level.

After construction, various University organizations, such as the Virginia Student Aid Foundation, the Office of Career Planning and Placement and the Athletic Development Office, will move into Bryant Hall's second level.

Fletcher said the hardest part of the project is the construction of the parking garage, since it is dependent upon the completion of the upper deck.

Laurance said the expansion's progress is "on schedule for completion in fall of 2000."

He said most of the planned changes and construction will be completed in time for the first football game Sept. 2.

Fletcher said the first phase of the project was for the 1998 football season, which included "bringing the north hill closer to the field, regrading it, and [constructing] the new video board."

Craig Littlepage, senior associate director of athletics, said the project included Bryant Hall's demolition in 1998, the creation of the student entrance, the lower bowl of the south end zone, locker rooms and new lights.

The expansion project started in the spring of 1998 after Carl W. Smith, Class of 1950 graduate and former Cavalier football player, donated the initial $25 million for the football stadium's renovation in July 1997.

Smith's donation is being supplanted with contributions of private gifts and grants, Laurance said.

Fletcher said Smith wanted to promote the development of the University athletic program with his donation.

"Clearly, Smith's vision was to provide support to the athletic department and create a top 10 program," Fletcher said.

He said the Athletic Development program is still in the process of raising private funds to match Smith's gift and to reach the project's projected budget of $86 million.

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