Let's put aside the laptops and push away from the desktops for a moment and come along in the first of two parts of a tour the GPP took of the new FIU Stadium on Monday.
Odebrecht Senior Project Manager Rudy Armenta (w/glasses, picture right) walked FIU media relations associate director Evan Koch and myself through drawings of the stadium and then out onto the stadium itself and up to the club level. To my surprise, our FIU spring football awards presenter, Miss Cindy Crawford, dressed in a white tank top, was already there working on the stadium. OK, she wasn't, but let's add a little beauty to this blog. So with Evan's photography skills and yours truly (right) taking notes this is the latest on your future stadium....On this tour we'll look at what's currently being worked on: the south stands.
While the FIU track team practiced on the old football field, 50-plus workers were busy assembling the club suites and digging to begin the east end zone stands on Monday.
The first thing that grabs your attention when entering the stadium from the where the west end zone will be (that would be in front of the old fieldhouse) is the limited amount of space between the south stands and the sidelines AND the limited amount of space between the yet-to- be-built west end zone stands and the end zone. Can you say home field advantage? Here on the left is a photo depicting the intimacy of the west end zone. Where Rudy is standing is where the west end zone seats would be. I counted about 10 yards from there to the end zone. The photo on the right shows the nearness of the south stands to the FIU bench. I'd say about 5 yards between there.
Next, we walked up into the south stands, where the 1,400-plus silver seats in the middle are the club seats with cupholders. The blue seats, no cupholders, are the other seats. The club seats will be plastic bucket seats like you find at the movies. The blue seats will all have a bench back so no one goes home with a back ache. Here on the left are the south stands seats which you can see as you drive along Stadium Drive (SW 17 St.). By the way, all the seats in the new stadium will be tilted towards the field so that no one goes home with a neck strain either. You ever try seeing a baseball game from the left or right field lines at Joe Robbie Stadium? No need to turn your neck towards the action at FIU Stadium. The stadium is being designed as Rudy described it as a "parabola". Sort of like an oval octagon.
We would have taken the elevator to the club suites but that has not been installed yet, but the elevator shafts are there waiting for the box cars. There will be 4 elevators: 1 for FIU coaches, 1 for opponents coaches, 1 for club level fans, 1 for public access. When you get up to the suites two things hit you: 1) the 19 suites are going to be big in space and 2) you can see the entire campus. Side note here: driving from Coral Way into FIU, you can see the stadium from Coral Way.
Back to the suites (photo, left), which along with the concourse that will wrap around the entire stadium will be 40 feet off the ground. The concourse will be 20-feet wide so that everyone can walk around the entire stadium. Once the upper deck gets done the top of the stadium will be 82-feet from the ground. Here on the right is a view of the 50-yard-line from club level.
Later on this week, the east end zone seats start to go up along with the visiting team and officials locker rooms which both will be located behind the east end zone seats. Then construction begins on west end zone seats and FIU's fieldhouse which will house FIU's locker room, coaches offices and weight room for all FIU athletes. Both fieldhouses will be embedded into the stadium.
We'll take a tour of those areas in Part 2 of our new FIU Stadium Tour. Check back here in a few days for the second part.
Win a GPP Blog Leaderboard
We're down to 11 contestants, not counting the GPP. Of course, once FIU gets its first win this leaderboard is going to have a shakeup of gianormous proportions. Could it be this week against Arkansas State?
Yes, I know gianormous is not a word in the English language.
8-0: FIUrulez 152; Fomenter 154; NY Josh 157; FIU Fanatic 178; 24/7-11 178; Crazy Cane 212.
7-1: FIUPantherFan 156; GPP 174.
6-2: yippee 208.
5-3: Messod 209; CJ 217; SouthPaw 229.
2-6: alt7787 266.
CJ: Update away on Saturdays. Keep the blog informed.
SouthPaw: The Arkansas defensive coordinator was upset that FIU called 2 timeouts with 47 seconds left in the game and that's why he made that gesture towards the FIU sidelines.
FIUandME: Besides being an FAU alum, don't know why Cote would write about the Owls getting more coverage in the Herald. Yes, FAU is better than FIU right now (nobody's laughing at Howard now are they?), but the Herald doesn't even sell papers in Boca Raton. FIU is in Miami. When I picked up the paper this morning it was called the Miami Herald. Not the Del Boca Vista Breeze.
Jerry & Hugh: Welcome to the GPP. Although I don't agree with either of your posts -- and that's the beauty of sports we all have different points of view -- as long as your posts are kept clean they will remain on this blog.
Jerry: Had to bring out the Panther Claw for part of your post. Call me names if you wish, whatever, we'll go back to kindergarten, but when you write vulgarities on this G-rated blog they will be deleted.
Hugh: I second, what someone else posted earlier: if Strock was such a good coach why weren't there a slew of NFL or college coaching offers after he left FIU last season? Ron Zook got the Illinois job after getting fired from Florida. Heck, even, Dave Wannstedt, who is not exactly Don Shula, got hired by Pitt after getting canned from the Dolphins. Sure, Strock helped Vinny and Marino and maybe that's what he's good at QB coaching, but a change was needed at FIU.