TCF Bank Stadium, the new home for Gophers football is nearing completion as Minnesota is a little over five months away from its first home game.
During a recent tour, local media were given the opportunity to see the extraordinary progress made since construction started with the official groundbreaking in September of 2006.
When walking into the stadium from Oak St, opposite Williams Arena, the beginning stages of the Sioux Plaza have begun. Associate Athletic Director Phil Esten said the area will honor the 16 native tribes of Minnesota and will include a water feature and a native grass exhibit.
There are four different types of premium seating being offered at TCF. The Loge boxes went the fastest according to Esten with the Athletic Department having to spend a bit more time selling the private suits which go for $45,000 a pop. The indoor and outdoor club seats have been popular as well and are part of a total of 20,000 seats with backs in the stadium.
The student section is located in the east end zone with 10,000 seats available to the student body. Tickets are set to go on sale April 25th and are priced at $83, a $13 increase from a year ago. 8,000 tickets will go on sale on the 25th while the remaining 2,000 will be sold to freshman and transfer students in September.
Aramark will be the official food provider at the new Stadium. Esten said they were extremely pleased with both the service Aramark provides, and the food quality as well. A 13,000 square foot kitchen will serve as the headquarters for not just TCF but for all of the Gophers facilities.
The new Gophers locker room has become a focal point of the Athletic Department since construction began. The Football shaped locker room is near completion with lockers, carpet, showers, restrooms and the signature Minnesota “M” LED light fixture in the middle of the room all installed.
Coach Tim Brewster has an office and locker room with a private bath with his assistant coaches sharing a separate room as well.
Brewster has already used the new locker room to his advantage, having the opportunity to bring in recruits and give them a glimpse of what could be.
“It’s been tremendous being able to bring in potential recruits and let them look at our new stadium,” he said. “I can’t wait to come in here after a win on game day and sing the rouser under the “M” and honor Minnesota.”
There are two scoreboards, both installed and ready to be turned on. Both scoreboards are Daktronics with the jumbotron located in the west end zone measuring approximately 48 feet high by 108 feet wide.
“Daktronics is leader in the scoreboard industry and we couldn’t be happier with the product that they’re providing to us and our fans,” said Director of Athletics Joel Maturi said in a release. “Throughout the design and development of this project we have been committed to building a first-class facility and this is an excellent example of that. The game-day presentation and experience involve many variables and our scoreboards will go a long way to offering the best collegiate atmosphere possible.”
Yet another advantage for Tim Brewster, something he said he is very excited about is the recruiting room being built near the locker room. It will play host to recruits and their families on game days where they’ll be fed and hear some words from Brewster before and after the game.
At the Metrodome, the Gophers were at a large recruiting disadvantage as they used a tent located outside the Dome to host recruits.
Installation of the playing field is set to begin this June. The surface will be an artificial turf, but more natural-looking than what is currently installed at the Dome.
The press box will house 130 working members of the media on game days. Unlike most stadiums, at TCF, the press box is curved, not straight and redirects sightlines to about the 50-yard line regardless of where the seat is located.