Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field
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Head coach Dan Mullen and the Mississippi State Bulldogs return to the raucous atmosphere of Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field in 2014, when State will celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Scott Field at Davis Wade Stadium with an intoxicating seven-game home schedule.
Nineteen of the top 20 crowds in stadium history have come during Mullen’s tenure as head coach of the Bulldogs.
Christened after Olympic sprinter Don Magruder Scott, one of State’s first football superstars, the 100-year-old historic facility (the nation’s second-oldest Division I-A campus football stadium) has undergone five renovation and expansion projects during its history.
Thanks to 30 consecutive home sellouts entering the 2014 season, more than $100 million in football projects have been initiated in the last few years. Of that figure, $75 million of it is for the nationally-praised 2014 Davis Wade expansion.
The latest addition of note at Mississippi State’s Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field is an expansion and renovation completed in August 2014 which increased capacity to 61,337, provided additional premium seating, elevators, restrooms and concessions, and a completely new west side concourse. Construction began in August 2012.
The construction contract for the project was awarded to the Harrell Contracting Group of Jackson, Miss. Harrell won the construction project in a university sealed bid process.
The north end zone addition created a total of 8,815 new seats, which, factored with the loss of the previously existing bleacher seating in the north end zone, resulted in a net 6,255-seat increase. Included in those 8,815 seats were 7,076 grandstand seats, 1,155 Scoreboard Club seats, 236 loge seats, 22 traditional suites totaling approximately 288 seats and 60 field-level suite seats. Additionally, standing room availability and ADA-compliant seating were also included in the project.
Also included in the north end zone is a non-seated, field level premium area, The Gridiron, which provides club-like amenities to any season ticket holder who buys a membership regardless of that person’s stadium seat location. The visiting team locker room was also relocated to the north end zone addition, allowing the gameday recruiting center to expand in its current location.
The north end also features a new high-definition video board similar in size to the one currently standing on the stadium’s south end, which is among the largest in college athletics.
The west side renovation showcases a rebuilt concourse under the west stands, the addition of four high-capacity elevators, an increase in restroom and concession point of sale facilities and a brick facade that matches the new construction on the north. In 2014, fans see the number of elevators at Davis Wade Stadium more than double (from five to 12), the restroom fixture total nearly double (from 313 to 621), and permanent concession point of sale positions increase by over 40 percent (from 110 to 156).
For media, the project included a new television compound away from the stadium proper. The TV compound is now located west of the stadium, allowing network broadcast trucks to connect to stadium equipment via underground cable runs.
The renovation and expansion was funded by the sale of $68 million in bonds and $7 million in private giving. Private contributions for the stadium project were part of the Bulldog Club’s Today. Tomorrow. Forever Athletics Facilities Initiative, which is completely independent of annual giving and priority seating donations.
Construction and renovation design for the Davis Wade Stadium expansion and renovation was handled by local architect LPK of Meridian, Miss., along with national sports consultants 360 Architecture of Kansas City. The design team engineered the north end zone facility to support future expansion of approximately 5,000 seats, including 22 additional suites and an upper deck.
The 2014 renovation and expansion came on the heels of installing $1.4 million LED ribbon boards in the summer of 2011. The project, funded by the Bulldog Club, is located in the upper deck facades on the east and west sides, and brings fans in-game graphics, scores, stats and other pertinent information to improve the game-day experience.
One of the most talked about features at Davis Wade, however, is one of college football’s largest high-definition video boards, located in the south end zone of the stadium. The $6.1 million true HD board spans the roof of the Leo Seal M-Club Center in the south end zone at Scott Field. The board measures 152 feet wide by 135 feet, 6 inches tall, with a main HD screen 111 feet wide by 47 feet high. It is the second-largest board in the Southeastern Conference and the eighth largest nationally.
The last previous expansion came in the summer of 2000 and raised capacity to 55,082 with the addition of 50 skyboxes and 1,700 club-level seats. The expansion continued into the 2001 season with the addition of 7,000 upper-deck seats. The entire project, completed at a cost in excess of $30 million, was made possible, in large part, by a financial commitment from the late Floyd Davis Wade Sr., of Meridian, Miss., for whom the stadium itself is now named.
Earlier building efforts in 1936 and 1948 brought capacity at Scott Field to 35,000 seats and provided the basic concrete grandstand structure (35 years after the ‘48 expansion, the end zone seating structures were removed, lowering the capacity to 32,000 in 1983). But after 25 years, Scott Field was ready for another facelift and an expanded seating potential for the school’s growing following.
A $7.2 million drive in 1986, spearheaded by former MSU athletic director Carl Maddox and an active group of university and community leaders, financed the addition of 9,000 seats to Scott Field’s capacity without the use of appropriated state funding. A 5,500-seat upper deck, an additional 1,700 chairback seats that extend from the stadium’s original structure, and another 1,000 chairback seats flanking the Bob Hartley Press Box on the second level were added to the west side. Two 1,700-seat sections were added to the east side stands to bring capacity to 40,656.
Other improvements to the stadium have also been made. In the summer of 1999, the Turman Fieldhouse on the south end of the stadium underwent many changes, including enhanced dressing rooms and a new recruiting lounge for Bulldog football prospects.
The third floor addition to the Turman Fieldhouse -- the Leo Seal M-Club -- houses a heritage room and game-day gathering place for former Bulldog athletes, and serves as one of the campus’ more popular meeting places. The $1.4 million project, completed in 1990, was made possible through the generosity of MSU alumnus and former Bulldog football letterman Leo Seal Jr., who named the building in honor of his father, also a two-year football letterwinner at State.
Earning a reputation of being one of the nation’s toughest places to play, the facility has been host to average attendances in excess of 55,000 the last five seasons. In fact, the last 10 years have seen the largest cumulative totals in the stadium’s history.
During the 2010 campaign, Bulldog fans smashed nearly all stadium records that had been previously set. During the seven-game schedule, a total of 384,995 fans entered Davis Wade Stadium, smashing the 2009 record by over 8,000. The home campaign also saw a record average 54,999 fans a game while notching three of the stadium’s top five crowds ever (Georgia, UAB, Arkansas). The home campaign witnessed the Bulldogs win at least five home games for the sixth time in school history.
In 2011, Mullen and his program watched as each game recorded a then top-15 all-time attendance mark at Davis Wade Stadium, including 57,871 against Alabama (second) and 56,924 vs. LSU (fourth). The 335,695 total fans to watch a game in Starkville was the highest ever for a six-game schedule at Davis Wade Stadium.
Two seasons ago in 2012, another record was set with 389,396 fans flocking to Scott Field for an average attendance of 55,628 per contest, including 57,831 against Tennessee - the third-largest crowd in school history.
State fans broke the school record for total attendance again in 2013 with 389,868 total fans, including a seven-game record average of 55,695. On Nov. 16, 2013, 57,211 people wrapped in Maroon and White attended the Alabama game, the fourth-largest crowd in school history.
Scott Field’s playing surface, which hosted 16-straight home victories between 1998-2000, is lush Hybrid Bermuda Grass (Certified Tifway 419), complete with a brand-new underground drainage and irrigation system. The field is encircled by a holly-lined sideline fence and end zone landscaping.
In conjunction with the 100-year anniversary of Scott Field in 2014, MSU sold a school record for single-season ticket sales. As of June 2014, MSU sold 44,230 season tickets, breaking the old mark of 44,212 set in 2012. Included in that record-setting figure is 11,000 student tickets.
BY THE NUMBERS
HISTORY OF SCOTT FIELD