BOONE – Appalachian State Athletics is set to regrade the Miller Hill in the south end zone of Kidd Brewer Stadium to bring it closer to the field in the late spring and early summer of 2020.
The news was stated by App State Athletics Director Doug Gillin during a radio interview on Appalachian IMG Sports Network, prior to the Nov. 23 home football game versus Texas State.
“When we set out, our goal was to make this the best 30,000-seat venue in America,” Gillin said of Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Gillin said the Miller Hill grading will take place at the same time as the installment of the new turf for the playing field. The turf and hill projects were approved for $2,538,880 by the App State Board of Trustees on Nov. 5, then by the UNC Board of Governors on Nov. 15.
The two projects are funded by auxiliary trust funds and the athletics facility debt fee paid by students, App State Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Paul Forte said at the Nov. 5 meeting.
The turf and hill projects will begin after the Luke Combs stadium concert on May 2, Gillin said. App State Athletics spokesperson Joey Jones said the grading of Miller Hill is still in the design phase and said it’s not completely decided what the project will look like.
Gillin said in his Nov. 23 interview that the walkway that currently connects both sides of the stadium behind Miller Hill would be three times bigger by kickoff in 2020. The walkway includes several third-party food vendors and restrooms, and has experienced crowding during high-attendance games.
Jones also said that as far as he was aware, the project would not include any changes to the $3 million video board that was installed on Miller Hill in 2017.
In the other end zone of the stadium, work has continued on the now-$50 million north end zone facility, which has taken shape in the last month, and is expected to be at least partially open in time for the 2020 football season. The facility will include 1,000 premium seats for the stadium, offices for coaches and staff, athletic training, hydrotherapy and locker rooms, and nutrition science research areas, as well as conference and continuing education training space, potential medical office space, dining facilities, a team store and ticketing office, according to App State.
“We’re bowling in this stadium on both sides to make it louder and an even better atmosphere for our fans and student athletes,” Gillin added on Nov. 23.
One sacrifice in the construction has been the lack of a full outdoor track for App State’s track and field programs. The teams did not host a home outdoor track and field meet in 2019 and are not slated to do so in 2020. The outdoor track and field season runs from early March to late May or early June.
Jones said the track runners are practicing on three-fourths of the outdoor facility available to them and will continue to use it through the spring season, as well as using Watauga High School’s track and field facilities.
A new track and field facility, as well as indoor and outdoor tennis courts, are part of facilities under development at are the “Appalachian 105” site, located along N.C. 105 at the old Watauga High School location. The new track and field facility is scheduled to be completed by spring 2021, Jones confirmed.