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USM boosters hear about renovation plans

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Sept. 22, 2003
Director of athletic development for the Southern Miss Athletic Foundation Leigh Ann Warner gave members of the East Central Eagle Club/Alumni Distract a closer look at the planned renovations for USM's M.M. Roberts Stadium and other athletic facilities last Friday.
Speaking at the fall football review meeting at the Crescent City Grill Mahogany Bar, Warner mapped out the $42 million project to renovate the athletic facilities at USM.
Warner, whose husband, Dave, is the Eagles wide receivers coach, said the football stadium's renovations will use about $32 million dollars of the projected $40 million cost.
USM will add luxury suites and terrace level chairback seating in Roberts Stadium's South end zone, and a new section called the Eagles Nest, a club level seating area, will be added to the East side of the stadium.
There will be 30 luxury boxes installed into a newly closed in South end zone. The suites will be completely furnished with couch, chairs, table, refrigerator, icemaker, closed circuit television and counter seating inside a climate control lounge.
The suites will also have plush stadium seats outside the furnished area, and they will coast $26,000 per year. Warner said the university has already received 19 commitments to purchase the completed suites.
Along with the luxury suites, chairback seating will also be available in the South end zone for $250 annually per seat, per year.
The Eagles Nest will be placed between the two 20-yard lines on the East side of Roberts Stadium.
The new stadium club seating area will include a spacious lounge that will have an upscale concession area and private restrooms. The Club will open into 650 theater-style armchair club seats.
There will be a tinted wall of glass, that will be able to open to allow game noise in, in front of the club seats and closed-circuit televisions will be located throughout the lounge and seating area. Stadium club prices are $1,250 annually per seat, per year for seat between the 40-yard lines and $1,000 annually per seat, per year outside the 40-yard lines.
Along with explaining the different plans, Warner also brought two artist renditions, designed by the Memphis architect firm that produced the Memphis Redbirds' AutoZone Park, to give the lunch-meeting crowd and idea what the stadium will look like after the construction is completed.
USM's renovation project also includes additional seating and luxury suites at Green Coliseum, construction of a tennis stadium, construction of a facility for the Olympic sports programs, completion of the softball complex, lighting for the track/soccer complex and the addition of artificial "field turf" at Roberts Stadium.