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First home football game at UNH's new $25m stadium Saturday

By KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent

September 08. 2016 8:09PM
Custom chairs with the Wildcat logo overlook the new field Wildcat Stadium in Durham. UNH will officially open the stadium when they take on Holy Cross in their home opener on Saturday at 7 p.m. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
Stadium stats: old and new
Comparing UNH's new Wildcat Stadium to the old Cowell Stadium:
Cowell
Wildcat
1936
Built
2016
6,500
Seating capacity
11,015
0
Club seats
512
744
Box seats
864*
24
Toilet facilities
88
0
Elevators
2
0
Concession windows
14
0
TV camera positions
3
0
Suites
4
6
ADA seating
42
0
companion seats
42
1
Sound system speakers
14
(*plus the original 744)



DURHAM -- Just two days before the University of New Hampshire’s first home football game at its new Wildcat Stadium, finishing touches were being put in place Thursday.

Workers painted lines on the field and the impressive 30- by 50-foot, high-definition video scoreboard was up and running.

The public has been welcome at the facility, but Saturday night’s game against Holy Cross is the first time all of the elements will come together, according to Athletic Communications Director Mike Murphy.

The new stadium, built on the west side of the football field across from the original 80-year-old grandstand, adds more than 4,500 seats, making its official capacity 11,015. There are 512 club seats (there were none before), 14 concession windows (replacing food trucks), 42 seats for the disabled and 42 for their companions. Service Credit Union has a branch located inside the stadium near the front entrance.

The $25 million stadium is also expected to host high school football championships and Special Olympics. Eventually, the hope is to hold concerts at the stadium, Murphy said, making it a destination for people from throughout the state.

Jon Danos, the senior associate athletic director for external affairs, said there is a lot of work being done behind the scenes to make sure Saturday’s opening night is a success.

“We’re really excited to get to this point. This is a sort of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to introduce a new facility of this nature,” Danos said.

Athletics Director Marty Scarano said even though there are still lots of things to do before the big day, everyone can feel history in the making.

“The opening of this stadium — it’s not just about a football stadium, it’s about a great venue and a great addition to the university,” Scarano said.

Scarano said plans for the new stadium have been in the works since the 1990s.

Football coach Sean McDonnell said Saturday night is going to be a special one in New Hampshire, but his team has to focus on the task at hand, which is winning the game.

“Our guys got to go play football,” McDonnell said.

Co-captain Ryan Farrell, a linebacker, said they intend to do just that. Still, he’s still pretty excited to start his senior season in the new stadium.

“What we do between the white lines isn’t going to change, but I think the atmosphere is going to be awesome,” Farrell said.

The Wildcats have made the NCAA championship playoffs for 12 straight years, the longest streak in the nation.

Saturday’s game will be televised on NESN Plus.


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