MARTIN, Tenn. – The reconstruction of Hardy M. Graham Stadium on the University of Tennessee at Martin campus has been delayed until Dec. 2014, one year after the original plans called for the overhaul of the stadium.
The Graham Stadium facelift was approved by the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees on June 20 and has the full support of the UT Martin administration. However, recent planning developments have dictated that the construction start date be postponed.
“We all want to see this project move forward as quickly as possible but given all the limitations and recent planning developments, this delay makes sense to me,” UT Martin director of athletics Phil Dane said.
The overhaul of Graham Stadium will transform the venue into one of the finest Football Championship Subdivision facilities in the nation and will meet all requirements to allow UT Martin to host a playoff game. The entire west side of the stadium will be replaced with new bleacher seating and a four-story building that will total approximately 21,000 square feet. The building will stretch 50 yards, from 25-yard line to 25-yard line.
Included in the building is a floor level that will include a renovated visiting locker room, referee locker rooms and a concession stand amongst other game management space.
The new bleacher seating will extend closer to the field (directly behind UT Martin’s bench), eliminating the current walkway. The entrance to each seat will now be located through tunnels from the back side of the bleachers.
The second level will be used by the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences. The area will include a hospitality and event management program operated through the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. The area will also serve as an academic support function throughout the calendar school year.
The club level is located on the third floor. On football game days, the 2,637 square feet area will house donors, offering a unique perspective of the game while in the climate-controlled suite. This level also includes the Chancellor’s box and will also serve as a fresh location for banquets.
The fourth tier of the building is a state-of-the-art press box facility. This floor includes nine spots designated for use by the visiting athletics director, visiting radio and coaching staff, television production, print media/sports information staff, public address/scoreboard operator, home coaching staff, home radio and WUTM radio. The area will be highlighted by a working media area (711 square feet) which can seat up to 28 members, more than double of what the current press box holds.
“The renovation being planned will be a major boost for our students, athletes, faculty, staff and community partners who enjoy football and a range of other events that will be served in this multipurpose structure,” said Dr. Tom Rakes, UT Martin chancellor.
The project is scheduled to be completed in time for the beginning of the 2015 Skyhawk football season. UT Martin’s home opener is tentatively set for Sept. 19, 2015 against Central Arkansas.