The COVID-19 pandemic may result in a season with fewer fans, if any, in stadiums and arenas. It may also result in no seasons at all. But we still like to dream of sitting in amazing facilities, and we have a wish list for BYU’s athletic facilities.
First off, we saw great improvement at Lavell Edwards Stadium with the addition of restrooms and connections in the four corners of the stadium on the mezzanine stadium. Increased accessibility and great views of the field were well received by fans.
Looking beyond these recent (and expensive) improvements, we dream of improvements at other facilities on campus. Here our some unlikely dreams we’d love to see in the future.
LaVell Edwards Stadium
LES saw great improvements in accessibility for the 2019 season, but there is still much to be desired. BYU fans have long dreamed of filling in the corners of the stadium, although the 2019 renovations likely killed that dream off for now. On top of that, added seat spacing and comfort is a must. Adding backs to all the seats on the west and east side would be fantastic. Removing those horrible “bleachairs” on the west side and the strip on the east, and replacing them with seats on both sides would improve fan experience. BYU can afford a slightly smaller capacity given the recent lack of attendance. In the north and south end zones, adding backs to the bleachers would save the backs of thousands currently having their spines realigned by someone’s knees behind them.
Last year in our Countdown to Kickoff, fellow contributor Jake Welch went into detail about some wishes for future improvements. You can read about those here.
The home locker room has also received attention on Twitter, with several donors mentioning interest in helping with improvements. BYU players certainly shouldn’t expect a LSU-style look, but surely anything could help BYU’s current locker room.
Football Locker Room
Fans and players have long clamored for a locker room upgrade. BYU’s locker room is below P5 standards, and believed to be behind Weber State’s recently designed locker room. BYU football players D’Angello Mandell and Chaz Ah You took to Twitter Tuesday afternoon (tweets were deleted shortly thereafter) to share their thoughts and were met with some backlash from BYU fans.
Whatever your opinion is, having an updated locker room is overdue and wouldn’t hurt recruiting efforts.
The Marriott Center was recently renovated, and goodness are those new blue seats a blessing. Not only do they look much better both on tv and in person, matching the floor and school colors better, but I can still feel my feet by the end of a game and I don’t have to make an appointment with a chiropractor on the way out of the arena.
In May it was announced that there were new blue bleachers in the upper bowl of the arena, leaving just the yellow seats left.
These will fill in a little more of the previously yellow space, but we still have a couple other wishes. First off, just make the upper bowl seats blue. There’s two ways they could go about this. One, simply replace the current yellow seats with identical blue ones or, and in my opinion the better option, remove the ROC student section seats and replace them with bleachers, and add the seats to the upper bowl section of seats. Why? Well for one, my tickets are the upper bowl seats and I’d love to improve them. And second, the ROC section is standing all game, leaving those amazingly comfortable seats unused except for timeouts. Making a few more bucks off upper bowl fans like myself and giving the ROC section more realistic seating should be considered.
Wow, where do we begin? Home of the gymnastics team and excellent volleyball, the Smith Fieldhouse packs in fans for big match-ups against Utah, San Diego, and Stanford on the ladies’ side and Hawaii and UCLA on the men’s. The fieldhouse can best be described as archaic. The seats are hard and uncomfortable and the wooden bleachers are splintered and rotten. But the court looks nice with the video board!
The Smith Fieldhouse was built in 1951 for basketball until the Marriott Center was built in 1971. At it’s peak, the Smith Fieldhouse held over 10,000 fans for basketball games. Those old enough can remember the set up at the Smith Fieldhouse for basketball, and returning to that set up for volleyball would be awesome. Fill the ends with students behind the endline to get in the head of the opposing server and distract him or her, and then fill the sides with the courtside and family seats, as well as the team benches.
Granted, the Smith Fieldhouse needs a complete renovation with the ceiling, speakers, and existing seating. This would not be cheap, but as one of BYU’s most popular sports, it would be worthwhile for fan comfort and entertainment. Improved courtside seating with cushioned seats, a new video and scoreboard system with new speakers, and improved bleachers throughout are all ways the Fieldhouse could be improved.
Home of the nation’s top average attendance in women’s soccer for several seasons, South Field has been a fortress for BYU women’s soccer in recent years. With a capacity of 4,200 not including end line bleachers and standing room, the facility is often packed beyond capacity for big matches such as Utah, Texas A&M, UCLA, etc.
As far as field quality and fan comfort, it’s pretty spectacular, especially for an Olympic sport. The stand has backs to the bleachers insuring you don’t have knees in your back. But still, the facility could use some work. Some hopeful improvements?
- Permanent restrooms. This should be an easy one, as the portable restrooms on the trailer are not ideal for 4000+ fans to use.
- Permanent structure underneath the grandstand. A nice brick facade with space underneath the stand for locker rooms, concessions, restrooms, etc would be great.
- A new video board. At South Field there is a temporary video board for social media, but the official game board attached to the Indoor Tennis courts just east of the field is somewhat archaic. It’s hard to read and several spots are out, leaving a very choppy video replay that’s not visible at all angles.