Originally created 08/20/04

State of Clemson's facilities



MEMORIAL STADIUM

CURRENT: Death Valley was a pioneer venue in the early 1980s, when it was one of the first in the country - and the first in the Atlantic Coast Conference - to add luxury boxes and upper-deck seating. Its current capacity of 81,473, still near the top of the league, was set more than a decade ago.

With the Hill and Howard's Rock, it still is aesthetically pleasing for the most part. The only area some consider an eyesore is the west end zone, and that notion is about to be remedied.

FUTURE: School officials admit they got complacent with the stadium during the 1980s and most of the '90s. Status quo is out, though, with the upcoming $56 million WestZone Club project.

The first phase of construction, which most notably relates to the addition of nearly 2,000 club seats, is scheduled to begin just after the Nov. 20 South Carolina game. It is due for completion prior to the 2005 season.

Athletic department members are hopeful that the second phase, which pertains more to the day-to-day football operations facilities, is done by the beginning of the '06 season.

HALL OF CHAMPIONS

CURRENT: For now, Clemson's athletic trophies are currently housed in the Jervey Athletics Center's Hall of Champions, located just inside the Perimeter Road entrance of the building.

A few - including the 2004 Peach Bowl and 1981 national championship trophies - are kept in a new case in the McFadden Building's main foyer. The athletics department spent more than $100,000 last summer to upgrade McFadden by adding murals of things like the Hill, Death Valley and Tillman Hall, as well as people like Tommy Bowden and John Heisman.

FUTURE: The symbols of tradition and success will all be united when the second phase of the WestZone Club is completed. A part of the project is One Clemson Center, a museum highlighting all of the things that have brought in and kept Clemson's legion of dedicated fans.

It will feature large murals of some of the program's achievements (like the 1981 title) and tradition (like Heisman's coaching of the team in the early 1900s).

PRACTICE FACILITY

CURRENT: The state of Clemson's practice field affairs wasn't bad with three full-length and two half natural grass fields. Things were improved dramatically this summer, however. One of the three full fields was dug up and replaced with a full-length synthetic field, made of the same turf that's being used in many professional domed stadiums and some college venues. The surface, made of the same rubberized substance that's in tires, is far safer than earlier forms of artificial turf. The athletics department estimates it spent nearly $300,000 on the new field.

Addtionally, the Tigers will also have the option of practicing in the indoor track facility, which was completed in 2003. About 60 yards of synthetic turf was also installed inside, in case adverse weather conditions threaten outdoor practice.

FUTURE: The future came early for the practice fields. Their recent renovation catches Clemson up with the rest of the conference. The use of the indoor facility makes the school one of few in the ACC to do so.

TIGER STRENGTH TRAINING

CURRENT: Tigers athletes have been working out in the basement of the Jervey Athletics Center for years. Only now, it doesn't feel so much like a dungeon, but rather much more like a palace. Clemson pumped more than $300,000 into the remodeling of the old weight facility this summer. Only a few cosmetic items remain until the makeover is complete. The additions to the weight room include a new high-quality sound system, six flat-screen plasma TVs and new rubber flooring throughout the 15,000-square foot room.

FUTURE: Despite all the work and dollars thrust into the revamped weight room, the football team will get its own strength-training facility once the second phase of the WestZone Club project is complete. That doesn't mean the remodeled facility will go to waste. It will still be home to the rest of the school's strength training.

PLAYERS' FACILITIES

CURRENT: Immediately following the Tigers' Peach Bowl win over Tennessee, their locker room was torn out of the Jervey Athletics Center and completely reconstructed. Completed in July, the new locker room is divided into eight sections, with each section marked by a mural from a bowl game that Clemson has played in. Each player has a mahogany locker, and the room itself is outlined in steel.

The players' lounge area, in the entryway to the locker room, has seven plasma TVs - two equipped with an Xbox - four computers, and various murals commemorating moments in Tigers football history. The complete overhaul of the players' area cost an estimated $500,000.

FUTURE: Like the weight room, the new locker room and lounge will change hands once the WestZone Club is completed. Then, football will move to the stadium, and leave the remodeled locker room for other teams. Robert Ricketts, Clemson's athletic director for facilities, said the area was constructed in such a manner that it would be feasible to build walls to divide the sections of the existing locker room into several smaller dressing facilities.