Went back to the "Crown Jewel" last Friday and here's the latest on the FIU fieldhouse and the south side of the stadium. There is plenty of new information to share so we'll break down the latest tour by the four sections of the stadium.
On the next blog, I'll have what is probably the sweetest view of the stadium -- the east end zone side. I'll finish the latest tour with what's going on in the north side, the intimacy of the field to the seats and other goodies. For a full story on the stadium you can read this recent story: The Crown Jewel
Depending on your computer, if you click on the following photos of the stadium, Cindy or Mel, you can get a larger image. I enlarged these photos as much as the Herald's blog system allowed me to. Enjoy!
There are pillars now in the ground on the west side of the stadium for the FIU fieldhouse. In front of the pillars (photo left) you can see some round gray supports coming out of the ground -- these are the bases for the west end zone seats.
While all you can physically see now are those pillars, the groundwork is now being laid for the fieldhouse and the west end zone. I've been told that you'll start seeing the west end zone seats and fieldhouse go up around mid-to-late March.
Before we walked the stadium, I sat down and talked with Odebrecht stadium project manager Rudy Armenta. I got a look at some detailed renderings of the fieldhouse and when Odebrecht e-mails them to me I will post them on here for you good people to see. After talking with Rudy, this is how the FIU fieldhouse will be composed....
On the first level of the fieldhouse will be the weight training center (gym) for all FIU athletes that will be nearly 70 yards long by 20 yards wide (200 feet by 60 feet). Besides having the latest training equipment, the gym will have windows facing the west parking lot meaning if you're bored you can go watch your favorite FIU athletes train.
The FIU locker room, which will be quite spacious with 120 lockers, also will be on the first floor. The locker room has a side exit that leads to the southwest corner tunnel of the stadium where the Golden Panthers will run onto the field.
Also on the first floor will be the entrance to fieldhouse -- this is on the northern end of the fieldhouse. The FIU ticket offices for all sports will be located here. Next to the ticket offices, there will be an FIU sports merchandise store. Also the brand spanking new rehab facility will be on the first floor.
Let's take the stairs to the second floor of the FIU fieldhouse. Here are where the FIU football coaches offices will be. MC's office will have a window overlooking the field and so will the conference rooms. The FIU assistant coaches offices will be across the hall from MC and the conference rooms so the assistants offices will be windowless.
The conference rooms, which there will be five of them, will be used when the team breaks up into positions meetings. These conference rooms can also be used as suites during games so that would give the stadium 24 club suites in the first phase of the stadium.
The picture here on the right, is shot from the east end zone: this is a view similar to what a person will have from the west end zone patio on the 2nd floor of the fieldhouse, except they will be closer to the field than this, because this photo was shot from above the east end zone seats.
There will also be a huge conference room for the entire team to gather on the second floor. This room will seat 135 people and sort of resembles an auditorium.
We could take the southwest corner ramp to go up to the south stands seats, but that's not scheduled to be built until mid-to-late March. So let's climb the south seats stairs and go up to the club suites level.
The club suites (photo left) are taking shape. Each suite is currently getting the electrical wiring done. The suites can each hold 20 people and each has an open-air seating area with chairbacks for 12 people in front of the suite -- in case you want to watch the game outside with the rest of the fans.
Like it has been written on here before there will be four elevators at the stadium: two to be used by FIU coaches and opponents' coaches, one for club suite holders and the other for general access.
The photo on the right has Rudy showing yours truly the hallway for the club suites. Plenty of walking room there. This hallway leads to the elevators and out onto the concourse that wraps around the entire stadium.
Before we take the elevators down to the first level, I wanted to show you some of the 264 private parking spaces for club seats and club suite holders. Obviously, the photo below left does not show all 264, but all the spaces are already there. This is located on the south side of the stadium next to the two new soccer fields that Tamiami Park has created. Those two soccer fields (which you can see above the parking spaces on the photo below) would serve as part of the 6 soccer fields FIU would have ready for use if Major League Soccer's Miami-expansion soccer team would come play at the new FIU Stadium.
In the following photos you'll see some burgundy beams, this is the frame of the Panther Club, which will be a gathering place for club seats and club suite holders. The Panther Club will be 8,000 square feet of party area. And here's an interesting possible tidbit about the new FIU Stadium: since the south side of the stadium sits on Miami-Dade County land and not FIU territory, there is talk of possibly having alcohol sales on the south side of the stadium since technically it is not on university land. Nothing has been decided on it yet, but sounds interesting.
Check back here in a few days and I'll have the latest on the east end zone, north side and some shots of how close the seats all around the stadium are to the playing field and team benches.