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Proposed glassy addition to northeast corner of Memorial Stadium will include suites, elevators
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HUSKER FACILITIES

Proposed glassy addition to northeast corner of Memorial Stadium will include suites, elevators

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New facility

NU development director Brenden Stai referred to a proposed glassy expansion on the Northeast corner of Memorial Stadium (seen above) as "the knuckle." 

When Nebraska on Friday announced its $155 million, 350,000-square-foot North Stadium expansion, much of the attention immediately, and deservedly, went to what will be brand new.

A massive football training complex. What NU administrators tout as world-class weightlifting and nutritional facilities for the Husker football team and for all Nebraska student-athletes to utilize. The uprooting and relocation of the Husker track and field program to a new stadium on Innovation Campus.

When it’s all said and done, though, Nebraska director of development Brenden Stai thinks one of the first things people will notice is the changes to Memorial Stadium itself.

In particular, an area he dubbed “the knuckle.”

Remember, initial renderings often change substantially from the time they’re first rolled out to the time a structure is actually budgeted, constructed and completed. The way the knuckle looks in the renderings Nebraska issued on Friday, though, it will be one of the project’s critical components.

A glass-heavy facade on the northeast corner of Memorial Stadium, the knuckle is a structure that is slated to rise behind the corner grandstands and connect to the North Stadium structure. The northeast corner will not completely close in between the North and East Stadium structures, but it will take up a considerable amount of the open space.

It is designed to serve purposes both practical and premium.

“The knuckle at this point, on the north and east corner (of the stadium) is really going to be the focal point when you look at it,” Stai said. “The vertical transportation with the elevator and the escalators for an experience on the other side, kind of like Colorado when you look at that. But it’s going to be more transparent, more glass. So you’ll have some premium space there.”

One of the stadium improvements athletic director Bill Moos wants to make in this phase of the project is easier access up into the higher reaches of North Stadium. The knuckle will help with that, providing elevators and escalators up to the top of the bleachers.

As Stai referenced, Colorado has plaza-type concourses on the north and northeast ends of the stadium above bleachers.

But NU has plans that go beyond just elevators and walking area.

“There will be four or five, maybe six new suites that will benefit us in regards to our foundation, our development people and those kind of things that we can utilize to hopefully raise more money for more projects,” Moos said.

The addition, should it come to fruition, will be the most noticeable change to the stadium itself and will rise directly over the new complex below it.

Other stadium changes will be more repurposing of existing spaces. For example, UNL chancellor Ronnie Green said the long-term plan for the ground-level academic center is to turn it into “additional club amenities for the stadium.”

The current football offices on the second floor of North Stadium will become expanded space for NU’s external operations — media relations, Husker Vision, ticketing, marketing, etc. — some of which is currently on the third floor of North Stadium.

“We still have to decide what to do with the existing football locker room, but we will be able to expand the current training room and also take quite a few out of it to bring over (to the new facility),” Moos said. “Right now, that’s just elbow to elbow in there and we’ll be able to really address that.”

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

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Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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