A milestone has been reached in the east expansion of Memorial Stadium; an expansion that won’t just seat more fans for Cornhusker football games, but will house a new research center.
Athletic Director Tom Osborne said today stadium expansion will give more Husker fans the opportunity to attend games which have been sold out for half a century.
“So this year we will have had 50 years of sell outs, going back to sometime in October we played Missouri in 1962,” Osborne stated during a special “Topping Off” ceremony at the construction site. “So, this year that will come full-circle; 50 years of sell-outs.”
More Husker fans will be able to go to games next year. The east expansion will add between 6,000 and 7,000 seats, bringing the capacity of Memorial Stadium up to 92,000. Three Big 10 stadiums remain larger: Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State. Memorial Stadium capacity will rank in the top 10 among college football stadiums.
The expansion won’t just add seats to Memorial. It will house an athletic performance lab as well as the Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior. The center will study brain function as it relates to athletic performance as well as conduct research on concussions.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman called it a unique partnership between athletics and academics.
“Human performance is something we all need a better understanding of,” Perlman said. “And we know that in this facility there are going to be great things happening on Saturday afternoons and great things happening during the week in terms of this research enterprise.”
The Topping Off ceremony is a tradition among ironworkers to commemorate the completion of the skeleton of a building. An American flag and an evergreen tree sat on the final I-beam as it was lifted and fitted in place. The evergreen symbolizes that the construction was completed without a serious injury accident. The flag salutes patriotism and freedom.
The expansion is expected to be completed by July of next year.
AUDIO: NU AD Tom Osborne and UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman speak at Topping Off ceremony. [4 min.]