STEPHENVILLE (June 1, 2016) — Huckabee and Heery Sports have been selected to provide architectural and engineering services for the renovation and expansion of Tarleton State University’s Memorial Stadium.
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents this past September authorized $24 million for the project. Initial plans include expanding stadium seating from 7,400 to 9,400 and converting the west-side stands to seating for home fans.
“We can’t wait to get started on this much-needed and long-awaited renovation and expansion of Memorial Stadium,” said Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio. “Huckabee and Heery Sports have the capacity, expertise and local leadership to help us provide an exceptional game-day experience for both Tarleton Texans and Stephenville Yellow Jacket fans.”
Huckabee, formerly located in Stephenville and now headquartered in Fort Worth, will provide design assistance and construction administration services. Heery Sports will lead the design process, bringing more than 50 years of expertise in collegiate sports design. The firm has completed stadium projects for the University of Texas, Texas State University, Texas Tech University and the historic Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
“Huckabee and Heery Sports are proud to work together to help Tarleton realize its vision for a superior athletic complex,” said Daren Kirbo, a vice president at Huckabee. “As a Stephenville resident and huge Tarleton Texan fan, I’m excited about the renovations at Memorial Stadium. Tarleton and the A&M System are making an important investment in a stadium that is beloved by so many.”
Kirbo will manage the design team while Devin Wilson, director of construction services, will perform typical architectural engineering construction administration duties. Wilson graduated from Tarleton in 2008 with a bachelor’s in industrial technology and played offensive line for the Texans.
Planning and design will begin immediately. Renovations will commence in late May 2017, with the expectation that they’ll be sufficiently completed for the first kick off in 2018. The stadium will be useable throughout construction, including during the 2017 football season.
Renovations will include an expanded press box and suites, additional premium seating with chair backs, expanded entrances and ticket booths, and improved concession facilities. The football field and track-and-field surfaces will be replaced as part of the project.
“I am very excited about the renovation of Memorial Stadium,” said Tarleton Athletic Director Lonn Reisman. “This new facility will be a great benefit to Tarleton State University, the Stephenville community and all of Erath County.
“The project comes at a time of unprecedented growth for our university,” he explained, “and will be a great benefit to our football and track-and-field programs as they continue to compete at high levels—not only within the Lone Star Conference but also nationally. This is something our university, this town and our fans have talked about for more than 20 years, and I’m excited that it’s finally coming to fruition.”
In 2013-’14, Tarleton teams ranked 40th in the nation—its highest ranking ever—in the Division II Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, which awards points based on success in all 14 intercollegiate sports.
In addition to use by Tarleton Texans, Memorial Stadium is home to the Stephenville High School Yellow Jackets.
“We enjoy a great partnership with Tarleton State University Athletics and look forward to an improved Memorial Stadium,” said Stephenville Independent School District Superintendent Matt Underwood. Future plans will allow the Yellow Jackets to personalize some features of the renovated stadium.
Developed in the 1940s as a tribute to the 179 Tarleton faculty and students who died in World War II, the original Memorial Stadium opened in 1951. A major reconstruction was completed in 1977, when today’s features were created. In 1988-’89, seating was expanded, the concession stand was remodeled, the current field house was built and track-and-field facilities were renovated.