CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Coastal Carolina University plans to stay on or under the $38 million budget to expand Brooks Stadium.
Coastal Carolina University's Board of Trustees approved the budget on Friday. Now, the challenge is staying on or even under that budget.
"We have to accomplish this. Failure is not an option in this case. We all realize that," said Matt Hogue, CCU's director of athletics.
Hogue said as soon as the university made the decision to transfer over to the FBS and The Sunbelt Conference, big conversations with power five schools started immediately.
"No. 1, we need to make sure we can accommodate a brand name opponent that comes in that might have a traveling fan base of 5,000 or $6,000. Where will we put them?" Hogue explained.
The base of this expansion is to go from just over 9,200 seats to more than 20,000. This includes an upper deck over the west side of the stadium, end zone seating, a boardwalk feature connecting the stadium around the scoreboard, premium seating with hospitality services, club seating and addressing the way people move around the stadium safely.
"We want to prepare for that. We want to be ready so we aren't spending inflating dollars 10 to 15 years down the road to expand again and we'd have to spend more money then than what we'd spend now," Hogue said.
He added the $38 million budget will be paid in revenue bonds, meaning it's money the university doesn't have but will have to pay off.
"But, I can assure you, we are always playing contingencies and soft cost and things that could occur," Hogue explained. "So, we are very comfortable within that number and I'm sure we will find efficiencies along the way that will save some dollars."
Though the budget has been approved, Hogue said there is still a state process the university must go through before starting a bid process for a contractor. He discussed a programming panel that is in place to pinpoint where money can be saved throughout the project.
A project, Hogue truly believes, will benefit the university, its current and future students, and the surrounding community through sports tourism.
"There's so many other ways that over time, and I think that's the thing to emphasize, over time. It's going to have a lot of impact on what we do and our community at large," Hogue said.
Hogue says the hope is to start the bidding process in the spring.