Jurich and colossal visions, Papa John’s growing again

How could Tom Jurich ever possibly outdo himself with all that he has already achieved during his tenure at the University of Louisville?

That’s not possible because Jurich knows no limitations. He’s the epitome of a visionary with mammoth dreams and makes the heretofore impossible become striking realities. Milestone after milestone for the program, the university and the community.

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The Tom and Mark Jurich double whammy.

Another defining moment in UofL athletics on Friday, Jurich behind the podium announcing still another grandiose project, this time a 10,000 to 12,000-seat addition to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

As Jurich indicated, the expansion will be first class in every respect, having drawn from the best ideas in the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks’ stadiums.  Add in field level luxury boxes, two new video boards, and two new massive Papa John’s signature columns, it’s going to be spectacular.

Jurich wants the expansion to be completed as quickly as possible, which means this is a top priority for him and for his staff.  That includes his son, Senior Associate Athletic Director Mark Jurich who, no doubt, has identified his targets and is already blazing the fundraising trail.

The enthusiasm flowing the press conference was at such a high level that corporate sponsors may already lining up for this project. Don’t be surprised if the construction cranes are not vying for position this time next year.

This is golden era of University of Louisville sports. You’re not dreaming. This is actually happening.

The absolutely best part is that Tom and Mark Jurich will never be satisfied, always looking to build and improve University of Louisville sports. That’s just who they are and what they do.

Sneak Peak: Papa John’s Expansion

Close look at Papa John’s Stadium Expansion reveals some additions nobody has been talking about.

Five things the observer learned by painstakingly reviewing the new artist renderings of the football stadium expansion project, which will increase capacity to 55,000 seats at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in the 2010 season:

  • The east side entrance will include a new gate with two massive 50 to 75-foot columns bearing the stadium name and greatly enhancing the overall impression of the stadium on Floyd Street.
  • A new jumbotron video screen will be added at the south end of the stadium at the rear of the new walkway connecting the east and west sides.
  • The new walkway will include at least two sets of additional restrooms for men and women, helping to ease the burden on existing facilities.
  • The new second deck above the loge seating area will probably include two-foot high video advertising strips spanning the length of the sidelines, similar to those at the Orange Bowl and pro stadiums.
All seats are a brilliant red in the artist's rendering.
All seats are a brilliant red in the artist's rendering of Papa John's expansion.
An impressive new entrance flanked by massive columns.
An impressive new entrance flanked by massive columns.
The walkway includes a new video scoreboard and new restroom opps.
The walkway includes a new video scoreboard and new restrooms.

Tangible Evidence Of Stadium Expansion

The National Rent-A-Fence Company has erected a fence around the parking area east of the stadium and construction crews are putting the finishing touches on two large double-wide trailers that will serve as construction headquarters for Abel Construction Company.

Abel Construction is the general contractor for the project. So the first steps in the expansion of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium are taking place. As one of the men working on setting up the trailers told this observer, “This thing is gonna happen, and it’s going to be great. They will be moving construction equipment in next.”

Tom Jurich
Tom Jurich

Exciting news, especially for Card fans who occupied the old baseball stadium over at the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center. The stadium expansion is moving forward, come hell or high water.

The setting up of the construction management offices is tangible evidence that Tom Jurich, Vice President of Athletics, remains firmly committed to the future of University of Louisville football. There are issues, yes, but Jurich recognizes that you have to build now for the future.

“One of the things that Tom has been able to do has been to upgrade all of the athletic facilities to another level,” said Bob Benson, a member of the U of L Athletic Association’s board of directors. “There is visible evidence throughout the campus, the natatorium swimming facility, the baseball stadium, the field hockey complex, the lacrosse stadium. We’ve also got a great new facility (the new downtown basketball arena) going up at Third and Main streets downtown.

“We’re very fortunate to be able to tackle these major projects in a very tough economy. Tom Jurich, with the help of people like Jim Host and others, has provided the leadership and deserves credit for the work he has done and continues to do.”

Some would question whether that long-term future will include Steve Kragthorpe, who will be the head football coach for at least another year. Next season will have its trials and disappointments for sure. In either case, stadium expansion is moving forward.

Seating capacity after completion of the first phase of the expansion will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 55,000 to 57,000.