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.

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

8 thoughts on “Tangible Evidence Of Stadium Expansion

  • December 9, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Great news. I was beginning to get a little worried since I hadn’t heard anything about a ceremony or anything like that.

  • December 9, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    No ceremony needed since it’s an expansion project. If we had had a winning season, there probably would be a groundbreaking. There still could be one, but I doubt it. Tom Jurich just wants to keep moving forward.

  • December 9, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    It’s coming “hell or high water” and I’ll be there win or lose eagerly waiting until the day for the wins to outnumber the losses.

  • December 9, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Great Mews. Hope we can fill it. It still irks me that the state dragged their feet on the building permit and cost us so much we have to “settle” for less than 60,000. I know, I know, with the lousy season we just had and Krag not going anywhere that we know of, it will be hard to fill even the smaller 55,000-57,000 but we will be back on top again and I wanted to dream bigger…I am excited that it’s going forward. Sure could be worse. Go CARDS!!

  • December 9, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    I think it’s great that the expansion is moving forward. The problem is that with Kragthorpe in charge we will have more seats but fewer fans in them. That is a lose-lose situation. We have heard tremendous disinformation about the situation he inherited (compare that with the positive pronouncements he made before last year’s season for a darkly comic moment). The bottom line is he isn’t recruiting well and is coaching less well. I know several people who have seen Petrino’s practices and K’s and they say the difference is night and day — constant motion and working at game speed verses disorganization and standing around. I only hope we end up with a coach who can put fannies in the seats. We sure don’t have one now.

  • December 9, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    The differences in practice sessions were pronounced, that’s for sure. I always have difficulity spotting Coach K at his sessions.

    I believe we had a few jewels in the recruiting class last season whose redshirts weren’t used this year.

    This season’s recruiting is far from complete so who knows?

    I’m sure you will agree that winning does the job, no matter who the coach happens to be.

    Revenue should be great from the new loge seats. With UK and West Virginia coming here in 2010, we should have our first 55,000 sellout, one maybe two of them.

  • December 11, 2008 at 4:48 am

    The last experience I had with Abel was they screwed up a bridge in Anchorage and it had to be re-built. I knew the Abel brothers from my days at Atherton. Both are deceased and I don’t know who is running the show now. It seems to me that the stadium expansion is a task beyond their capabilities.

  • December 11, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Well, if Abel can’t do it..maybe we should call Cain. (Sorry, bad bible reference.)

    As is many cases, I’m sure that the tons of subcontractors hired for the job will do the majority of the actual work, and Abel will be more into the design and planning process. I have no doubts that Tom Jurich will be reviewing everything with a fine tooth comb, and…in Tom we trust. Just in case, might want to throw a hard hat in the back seat if you’re in the Floyd and Central area. For protection, or maybe a little unskilled labor opp.

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