August 9, 2006

Work in progress

While about 400 spectators eagerly watched the first fall practice of the Ron Prince era last Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, many undoubtedly also caught their first glimpse at the new video board in action. Then there was the sight of the seating behind the north end zone and the south face of Vanier Football Complex, which in some areas still resembled the uncovering of an archeological dig.

The good news? Soon the three-phase, $4.3 million project could resemble a new-look K-State football kingdom.

The 23-foot high by 61-foot wide video display board behind the south end zone ran words like "AWESOME!" and "DEFENSE," abstract by design, as players participated in drills on the field.

The permanent tiered bench seating to accommodate about 1,900 spectators behind the north end zone is still expected to be completed by the season opener against Illinois State on Sept. 2.

For now, only the concrete foundation on which the seats will sit is present, covered in dust. Although a majority of the limestone brick is currently in place on the south side of Vanier, construction workers continued to labor inside the newly added west wing offices.

"As you can see, they're working as we speak," said K-State athletic director Tim Weiser, who watched practice from the sideline. "I know they're working hard to catch-up. They're probably a little bit behind from the overall completion date they originally set, but I think we're still on track with our outside seating and, of course, the biggest concern on an immediate sort of basis."

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