Two weeks ago, you got an updated view and notes on the west side of the new FIU Stadium. Here are some more photos and news after the most recent visit to the Crown Jewel. Again with all of these photos, I have enlarged them as much as the blog program allows, but you can enlarge them even more on your PC. So, please do so.
The concrete for the concourse on the west side of the stadium has been set and here are some photos standing atop the west concourse. This first one on the left is from the northwest corner of the stadium.
The next photo on the right is the view of the club suites from the furthest corner of the west concourse. You can't go any further on the west concourse than this point until they build the north side of the stadium.
From the furthest point on the northwest part of the concourse, you can see where the old east scoreboard -- which will become the west scoreboard -- is currently residing, behind the north bleachers. You have to enlarge this photo on the right to see the old scoreboard.
Behind the southwest corner of the west concourse, you can see lying on the ground the frame for the new field lights and the poles that the lights will be attached to.
The 4 poles (1 for each corner of the stadium) are 140 feet in height and each pole contains 60 light fixtures. Was told that for football games only 48 light fixtures are need per pole, but FIU got 60 lights per pole, because that's the number of lights needed per pole for pro soccer. So when the Golden Panthers kick it off against South Florida 12 light fixtures will be turned off per pole. For those scoring at home or if you're hobby is light poles, FIU baseball stadium's light poles are 94 feet high and have 24 light fixtures. Here on the left is a new light pole. Not an exciting photo, but thought it would add to this tour.
Before we go down to the field to show you what's going on there -- and you don't have to ride in the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine to notice there's something going on in the field from the first photo -- here are some shots of the west end zone stands from two different parts of the stadium.
And here on the left is a close up shot of the west stands from the southwest concourse. Again these west stands like the rest of the stadium's stands are right on top of the field -- big-time home field advantage.
On that photo on the left, you'll also notice the asphalt for the back of the west end zone was laid down.
That measures 7 yards from the back of the end zone to the bottom of the stands. So nobody has to worry about pulling a Gus Frerotte with their helmets against the stands unless they do like Frerotte and actually go bang their helmet against the wall.
This photo on the left gives you a closer and field-level look at the asphalt in the back of the west end zone.
You also can notice on this photo, the apron on the bottom of the stands has been installed. The apron is the blue paneling that is the facade of the stands around the entire the stadium. Here on the right is a shot of it from field-level of the south stands.
As far as the field goes, they have begun installing the foundation for the field turf. The black tarp covering the field is the very bottom layer of the new turf. Above that will be a thick layer of a sponge-like surface and then the new turf and the ground-up tires inside the new turf. The new turf is expected to be laid down at the end of the month. Below left is a close-up view of the field.
If you have followed FIU football from the beginning, then you'll remember that Halloween game against Jacksonville that former FIU running back Rashod Smith had a monster game and then a huge deluge came down, the lights on the stadium went out and down by a million points, the JU coach could have called the game, but didn't. All that was memorable, but so were the bubbles that popped up all over the old turf, because of a poor drainage system. Here on the right is a photo of a brand new drainage system that will not allow the field to flood or those turf bubbles to surface.
We have plenty more photos from the last visit to the stadium to get to and they will be on the next post. On that post, you'll see how the club suites are taking shape, the Panther Club, where your FIU bricks are going to be laid and a take a look at a gift for FIU baseball.
Pretty interesting idea from the mind of Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnelly that he relayed at Sun Belt Media Days in New Orleans. In case, you missed it here is the story: Howard's Bright Idea
Some people might think HS is off his rocker, but I think he may be right when he says that in 5 years you won't know how the 7 Division I college football teams in Florida will be ranked. The state of Florida has the best high school football talent in the nation and all 7 of these teams make getting those players their priority. Not much left for the rest of the country. Don't see UM, UF or FSU agreeing to HS's idea, but you can bet FIU, FAU, USF and UCF would open their schedules for HS's idea.
FIU Fan: How about making the [Golden Panthers] entrance look like a giant cage? You really got the UM fans pissed off, lol. They are going off on you in the UM blog comments.
GPP: Great idea! And with the silver stands it would look like an actual cage. I'll bring it up to FIU and see what they think.
Guess, I rattled some cages with the Larry Coker/Sun Belt story. I just wrote the facts: Miami has 2 college football teams, Dolphin Stadium is cavernous (Dolphins have never had a home-field advantage there) and there is no on-campus stadium in Coral Gables.
FIUPantherFan: Will they do a weekly radio show this year like they did with Strock? Also, are there any plans to broadcast basketball games this year (and I don't mean student broadcasts).
GPP: MC does not have a weekly radio show this year. Basketball broadcasts will be student radio again this season, which is not a bad thing, Andrew Julian and WRGP do a good job broadcasting FIU hoops.
Look into your crystal ball and answer Howard's question, but more specifically, regarding FIU in 5 years.