Editor’s Note: The following is the final part in a four part series.
The Department of Athletics reviewed its current facilities needs and recommends a future facilities master plan for athletics, according to the 2013 Strategic Plan.
“If money was not an object, there’s some things we would like to do from the enhancement standpoint,” said Charlie Cobb, director of athletics.
All of the athletic programs were analyzed to see what the athletic department could enhance and plan for the future.
In the future, athletics would like to either upgrade its locker rooms in the Holmes Convocation Center or reconstruct the floor and locker rooms in Varsity Gymnasium.
“The easiest thing to do would to do some stuff with the Holmes Center,” Cobb said. “But unlike the other facilities, we don’t control the operations of the Holmes Center.”
Athletics does not own Holmes Convocation Center because legislators paid it for in 1995, according to theholmescenter.com.
The new plan for Kidd Brewer Stadium would include extra permanent seating and the removal of the track.
Cobb wants the seats closer to the field at Kidd Brewer but that would take extra money and track removal, he said.
“If we had the money, I would love for the track programs to have a standalone facility,” Cobb said. “Right now, that’s not where Appalachian is. If we magically come up with the money, the next question to ask is where do we put it?”
Also, Appalachian currently has no land or space to adequately support the program, so the temporary bleachers work for now during football season, Cobb said.
Sports Information Director Mike Flynn said that Kidd Brewer currently holds about 21,000 seats.
When the end zone seats are added, there is an additional 3,000 seats. The goal that the athletics department is trying to reach is a lot higher.
‘We put the temporary bleachers up the beginning of the season and take them down the end of the season because it works just for what we need it to do,” Cobb said. “I think 35,000 seats is a perfect capacity for Appalachian.”
Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium, the baseball stadium, is also in the plan for renovations in the future.
The athletic department would develop an on-site weight room, and include all chair-back seating, according to the plan.
“Baseball having their own weight room would make practice smoother and seamless,” Cobb said. “It’s a pretty good stadium and with a couple of tweaks, it could be a great environment for fans.”
Those tweaks also include changing the dimensions of the park and changing fences.
The plan for softball and tennis would be an indoor facility for both teams and improving the conditions in and around the current facility. They will try to identify land for an on-campus facility for soccer on Bodenheimer Drive and a driving range for golf, according to the plan.
Cobb wishes to advance the digital media in all facilities, he said.
“Video boards are a big thing for a lot of different sports and it would be a great amenity to have in the facilities,” Cobb said. “It will add to the fan experience.”
The Kidd Brewer Stadium modification picture is available at goasu.com.
Story: JAMES ASHLEY, Sports Reporter