Louisville has raised $47 million toward stadium expansion
The University of Louisville announced Wednesday that it has raised $47 million, including a recent $5 million pledge by Norton Healthcare, toward the $63 million expansion of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium and adjacent Howard Schnellenberger team complex. The fundraising has allowed U of L to stay on pace to complete the project by the start of the 2018 football season.
Major construction work on the stadium has been under way since the end of the regular season in late November, including an apparent excavation of the former grassy areas behind the north end zone inside the stadium and north of the Schnellenberger complex outside the stadium
The first phase of the project that will be noticeable to the fans will be the seating structure for the interior bowl that will be in place (though not completed) for the start of the 2017 season. Approximately 10,000 seats will be added to the north end zone, which will go on sale to the public in early 2018.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, renovations are scheduled to begin on the football complex. The new 100,000 square feet of space will double the size of the team's weight room and conditioning center.
U of L's news release on Wednesday for the first time listed the price tag of the project officially at $63 million. Previously it was estimated to cost $55 million, though senior associate athletic director Mark Jurich announced in October that fundraising had gone well enough that the team complex expansion would include 30,000 more square feet than was initially planned, raising the overall cost.
Jurich also announced in October that U of L had already sold all 1,000 club seats, 70 premium boxes, and 12 exclusive field-level suites.
The Norton pledge is the latest major donation toward the stadium project, following others by Pepsi and the Kueber family.
"We are extremely appreciative for Norton Healthcare’s generous gift to allow this project to forge ahead," athletic director Tom Jurich said in U of L's news release. "They have always been a tremendous partner for our department, and this major gift certainly strengthens their commitment. The project is moving along steadily, and I’m very grateful for everyone who has contributed to the future of this program. Their gifts have enabled us to move up the completion date" (from initial plans of 2019).