APPLETON - Lawrence University has started fundraising for a $5 million overhaul of its football stadium, the Banta Bowl.
The stadium, which was built in the 1960s, will be renovated to also accommodate the college's soccer teams, according to the story in the school's magazine, Lawrence Today.
A start date for the project has not been set, but it would likely begin immediately after a football season to be completed in time for the following season, according to Joe Vanden Acker, sports information director.
Appleton West High School also plays its home football games at the Banta Bowl.
Excerpts from the Lawrence Today story:
The renovations begin with raising the level of the playing field to make it wide enough for a regulation NCAA-sized soccer field. The playing surface will be replaced with a synthetic surface, which will diversify and increase the amount of usage for the stadium. Banta Bowl fans will benefit from new seating as the original fiberglass bleachers will be replaced.
Fans entering the Banta Bowl will do so through an inviting plaza on the north end of the stadium. The current buildings on that end of the stadium will be razed and replaced with new structures. The centerpiece of the new construction will be locker room space for the Vikings. In addition, a new visitors' locker room will be built, along with spaces for officials, concessions, ticket sales and storage. The parking lot fans will also be refurbished. New lighting and a new LED scoreboard will also be added.
The last major piece to the Banta Bowl renovation is expansion of the press box to give the coaching staff of both teams an indoor space from which to watch the game from the stadium rim. With all Lawrence football games (and soccer games once that sport moves into the Banta Bowl) being webcast, the new press box would allow for more effective game broadcasts.
When phase I is complete, Lawrence will turn its attention to other Vikings needs, including, perhaps, renovations to Alexander Gym – and even an ice rink.
"With its support of this fund-raising project, the Lawrence Board of Trustees is ensuring that the future of Vikings athletics – football, soccer and all varsity programs, has never been brighter," said Mike Szkodzinski, director of athletics and head hockey coach. "This project will help us attract the best scholar-athletes and also further connect Lawrence to the Appleton community."
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