PROVO — Brigham Young University released renderings and broke ground Monday for a permanent-structure grandstand and entrance for its soccer facility — and, while officials were at it, renamed it as well.
The Stadium at South Field, as it is now known, will feature a 2,140-seat grandstand similar in appearance to the east stands of football counterpart LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Measuring 26 feet high, 216 feet long and 65 feet deep, the 20-row grandstand will be divided into seven sections — the three middle sections will total 816 chair-back seats with a blue-and-white "BYU" appearance.
The other four sections — two on either side — will have a total of 1,324 bench seats. An enclosed structure — for yet-to-be-determined uses — will sit atop the grandstand, which replaces a collection of metal temporary bleachers used in seasons past.
Also as part of the project — funded by university finances and private donors — will be a dressed-up stadium entrance accommodating spectators from West Stadium Drive and the doubling of the field's lighting capability.
Construction will begin next week and conclude July 4, in time for the BYU men's soccer team to play the second half of its 2008 Professional Development League season at the revamped site. In the interim, it will play at Haws Field.
Besides serving as home field for the Cougar women's and men's teams, it will also serve BYU extramural programs and students in health and human performance classes.
Donors include Dale and Jana Christiansen, Dan Logren, Eric and Monette Magelby, Kim and JaLayne Pugmire and Scoreboard Sports' Sean Macklyn.
For BYU women's coach Jennifer Rockwell and men's coach Chris Watkins, Monday's ceremonies offered a chance to reflect — the former recalling her days as a Cougar player and then a young coach when South Field was an intramural site, and the latter admitting he had avoided bringing new recruits to see "the traveling circus" — what he called BYU's temporary-type stadium setting.
"This adds some permanence to it," Watkins said.
Rockwell agreed: "It will be our job as a program to provide the entertainment and to be as good as we can be."
The Cougar women, who have been a top-10 NCAA women's soccer draw for the past several seasons, won the 2007 Mountain West Conference championship, their fifth MWC title. BYU has reached the NCAA Tournament in 10 of the past 11 seasons.
And the BYU men, who after six collegiate club national championships moved to a university-sponsored professional franchise, went 14-2-2 in PDL action last summer and were one of the top 10 PDL teams in attendance in 2007.