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Rutgers Board of Governors Approves Stadium Expansion
Project lauded as investment to move athletics toward fiscal self-sufficiency
  • Posted on January 29, 2008 2:17:17 PM
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  • NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.– The Board of Governors of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, today approved a plan to expand Rutgers Stadium.

    The $102 million project, which will increase the stadium’s seating capacity to nearly 56,000, will be funded entirely by the revenue generated from ticket sales for the 14,000 new seats and from private donations. Rutgers students will continue to have access to football tickets free of charge.

    “The continued success of the Scarlet Knights football program is an important goal for the university,” said Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick. “Academics and athletics reinforce each other and Rutgers is committed to excellence in both endeavors. At great research universities, both contribute to the institution’s quality and reputation.

    The Rutgers football program has experienced a dramatic resurgence, including three consecutive bowl appearances, two consecutive bowl victories and 26 wins in three seasons. The university has received deposits for more than 10,000 new season tickets for football.

    The achievements on the field have contributed to greater interest by prospective students, a higher academic profile among admitted students and unprecedented fundraising for academic programs. In 2007, Rutgers received more than 32,000 applications from prospective first-year students, a record number; saw a 65-percent increase in the number of prospective students and their families taking the admissions tour; and collected more than $100 million in cash donations, a 31-percent increase over the previous year.

    The university will finance the majority of the project through $72 million in bonds that will be repaid through increased ticket revenues generated by the expansion. The remaining $30 million will come from private contributions. New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine and state Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak announced in December that they would lead the fundraising campaign.

    The expansion project is self-supporting. No public money will be used to fund the expansion and the project will have no impact on tuition or academic programs.

    “We are not taking funds from another area of the university to pay for the expansion,” said McCormick. He said the project is an investment that can move Rutgers athletics toward greater financial self-sufficiency. “Expanding the stadium contributes to the excellence of the football program and increases its ability to generate revenue. This will, in turn, reduce the university’s subsidy of athletics and free up funds that can be redirected to finance superior academic and research programs.”

    Construction is expected to begin shortly with approximately 1,000 new mezzanine seats added to the existing structure by the start of the 2008 season. Another 1,000 bench seats will be added to the north end zone and 12,000 new seats will be built as part of a newly constructed south end zone section. Plans also call for a new entrance off River Road that will increase the stadium’s visibility while helping to ease traffic congestion on game days.

    In addition to the new seating, the expansion will upgrade the stadium’s sound system, scoreboard and video screen; add new elevators, concession stands and restrooms; and upgrade and add player and spectator support facilities.

    The project is expected to be completed by fall 2009.
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