Renovated Husky Stadium to open Saturday

huskyThe new $280 million Husky Stadium formally opens to the public at 5 p.m. Saturday, two hours before the start of the season opener against Boise State.

The 70,000 fans who file through the gates will be much closer to the action.  The track that separated fans from the field has been removed and the field has been lowered by four feet.

The corners of the west end zone are only 20 feet from the fans.  At the 50-yard line, spectators are just 48 feet from players.  That means the noise factor could be significant, affecting opponents’ abilities to hear calls from their quarterbacks.

The stadium revenue is expected to help the UW Athletic Department keep up with other universities’ college football programs.

Construction included a two-story, 83,000 square foot Football Operations Center on the west end of the stadium, where players and coaches can train, study and relax.  Some of the amenities in the center include a hot tub, a two-chair barber shop and a locker room shaped like a “W”.

There’s also a glass-encased “fitting room” with the latest uniform designs for recruits to see.  On the second floor the offices of head coach Steve Sarkisian can be found, in the penthouse suite, with a fireplace and extraordinary views of Lake Washington and the playing field.

Fans will also see big changes in the east bleachers, including permanent stands and a high-definition video screen with “HUSKY STADIUM” in purple letters across the top.

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