Alderson Broaddus University has a new name, a new field, and now a shiny new stadium.
The brand new Performance Stadium in Philippi has not only re-energized the school, but also the community.
Throughout the rest of the week we'll bring you a four-part series, showing off maybe the nicest Division-II stadium in America.
ABU STADIUM TOUR - PART 1
"It's great. I think it's exciting for everybody," ABU Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Denny Creehan said. "I think the whole community is excited. I know our players really are, and I'm pretty sure the student body will be too."
The tour began at the entrance of the stadium.
"What you have behind us is the ticket booth. To the left side, you have ticket sales and the right side will be the will call window. People will enter between the archway," Creehan said.
As fans enter the stadium they will be greeted by vendors along a pathway which leads to the bleachers, selling Battler gear and memorabilia. There is also a picnic pavilion, and Coach Creehan said it will be a nice way to somewhat hold a tailgate inside of the stadium.
"This area basically serves for two purposes. One is for open-air picnicking. We can do post game tailgates. There's people who can run picnics and so forth, while the game is going on. There will be a barbeque pit at the far end. The second purpose for this is if you go up on top of the roof, there's a platform up there and that's going to be for the end zone film."
We then ventured to the highest point of the stadium bleachers to take in the view from the top. Creehan believes the view is the best at Alderson Broaddus University.
"We are very top of the second deck on the home side. These are all chair-back reserve seats. To me, this is the prettiest view on the entire campus. When you sit in these seats right here, your tail end is 40 feet above the playing surface, which is high. That's like standing on a hoop four times," Creehan jokingly added. "So I think it's a great view. I think the people that sit up here will love the game atmosphere. Certainly they have a great view of the stadium and the playing surface. It doesn't get any better than this. In my opinion, this is a Division-I setup."
The stadium offers three individual boxes between the lower and upper deck bleachers on the home side. We entered the VIP box seats to take in the scenery and the amenities.
"It'll be spectacular," Creehan said. "The purpose for this is for private parties. A VIP group can rent this box. You get 20 game tickets and four parking passes. You can have this thing catered however you want. It's air conditioned and it's heated. You also have these sliding glass doors that you lift up, and now it becomes an open air facility."
"You can see that its got a great view of the field, and it's basically for private parties. This sold out fast too. In fact, we had one parent that wanted to buy it for all five games. It was already sold for a number of other ones," he said.
ABU STADIUM TOUR - PART 2
The Performance Stadium is still undergoing some construction, but the largest parts of the stadium are ready for use. In other words, construction workers are putting on the finishing touches, such as planting bushes along the exterior, along with finishing up the inside of the box suites.
ABU Head Football Coach Denny Creehan began Part 2 of the tour by bringing us behind the home grandstand. A pair of buildings that house the concession stands, storage and bathrooms have been built behind the double-decker bleachers.
"They have a date of September 2nd to finish the project," Creehan said. "They told us that they will be finished on time. It's not a problem. There is still construction going on, as you can see. It's quite evident."
"This building over here is the concession stand. You can see the windows that lift up. There's another window around the front. On the opposite side of the concession stand is the men's restroom. Behind me is the women's restroom and the storage area. So we have two buildings that are side-by-side with these stone pavers in between them," he added.
We then stepped foot into the press box. The suite is one that not many Division-II football facilities can match. Creehan said the media will appreciate the spacious setup.
"This is the area where the working press will work. We are really excited about this. All of the scoreboards and music systems will all be controlled from in here. The statisticians and all of that will be up on the second deck. All of you privileged guys will be down here in the front," Creehan chuckled.
"So down here we'll have regular seats and they'll sit down a little bit lower, and we'll have this counter top all finished by then. Then up here, with the higher desk, we'll also have higher bar stools. So everyone who's back here can see over the head of the people that are here watching the game in front," he said.
Student sections are a must when it comes to college athletics. The ABU student section will have a major impact on the game, as the section is based right off the edge of the home sideline. The section is also below the press, VIP and presidential suites.
"We call these student sections our 'Battle Zone' for Battlers," Creehan said. "They have a great time down here, so we're looking forward to this. Also our marching band, color guard, majorettes, cheerleaders and dance team will all have something here. This is also general admission seating. So if someone is not interested in a reserve seat, certainly they can come down here and enjoy the game from here."
ABU STADIUM TOUR - PART 3
If you're a person of important stature at Alderson Broaddus University then the presidents box is the place for you.
"The president will be entertaining some very important people in this room," Creehan said. "There will be a lot of potential donors that will be asked to come and look at what we're going to do, and a lot of people that have donated to the college and want to also. Also, any kind of dignitaries that might come to enjoy a game will all be hosted in this room right here. But this room should entertain at least 40 people."
The opposing team locker rooms are also ready for use. Coach Creehan said the area is spacious and offer all of the amenities needed.
"This is the visitors locker room. There's room for 83 people in here. There's a divider here that can divide it into two separate locker rooms with two separate showers and bathrooms. This is what the visitors will be looking at on game day. Then they run right out that door and on to the field through that little tunnel that we just came through," Creehan added.
Each team at ABU that will be using the Performance Stadium has their own locker room. That is something that is certainly unique to the stadium.
"We wanted to take care of all the sports. What you're standing in right now is the women's soccer locker room. They have lockers that they can not only store their stuff in, but they can sit in as well. The coaches are free to paint these up and decorate them and do whatever they want in here. They can put furniture in here. Every room has a white board. All the rooms are equipped for cable television if they want to do that," he said.
The athletic training facilities included into the stadium is something that separates itself from other stadiums across the area and the state. The training room offers two whirlpools and a taping station. When all of the athletes need help off the field, they will be getting it in there.
"This is a great training room. We have a huge student training program here. We have lots of athletic trainers," he said. "We have all of the help that the athletes need in terms of their medical needs. This is the wet room. This is where all of the whirlpools and so forth are, and of course we've got the big ice maker and so forth. Over there is the taping station. The coliseum does have another training room that is more of a treatment room. You can get ultrasound and those kinds of things up there."
ABU STADIUM TOUR - PART 4
The football locker room at the ABU Performance Stadium is one that rivals some Division-I setups. ABU Head Football Coach Denny Creehan is ecstatic over the design of the room, which offers 150 lockers.
"First of all, we have a large squad. Football is an enrollment generator, as well as a sport. So we have a huge roster size and we've got to have a room that's big enough to fit all of those kids. Obviously this is our room and this will be our pride and joy. Also, you see the white board over there and they're going to build another white board here," Creehan said.
"It's not only a locker room, but it's a halftime adjustment center. We'll set this up with offense on one side and defense on the other and make halftime adjustments in here," he added,
Creehan took us into the football storage room next. All of the ABU jerseys and pants will be stored and handed out from that room.
"Obviously, we are a Nike school," Creehan reiterated. "We are very proud of that. Coach [Chris] Moore wouldn't have it any other way. These young coaches would beat me up if I didn't go Nike. We have all of our stuff stored in here. That door right there, eventually we'll get all of these boxes out of here, that will be the issue door. So the kids will come to the window and get their t-shirts and shorts for the day, or jerseys or whatever else they need. Everything will be hung up in here. We have it all by number so we know exactly where to go when we have to find something."
This field turf at ABU has been laid down for the past year. But the scoreboard is up now, which is something that is brand new to the field.
"We were using the field to practice on last year. Soccer and lacrosse played some of their games out there. Football played all of their games away, so this will be their first home game coming up on September 7th. But the field has been in use for a year now. The lights have been in use for a year," he said.
"What is brand new is this big, giant scoreboard that's out here. It is absolutely the most state-of-the-art piece of equipment that I have seen in a long time. If you took that sound system and turned it up as loud as you wanted to, it would blow out every window in all of the neighborhoods around here. It is really special. The president said he wanted a sound system that was second to none. Well, he got it. This thing is really something," Creehan said emphatically.
Alderson Broaddus University will take part in its first home football game in the new stadium against Pace University on Saturday, September 7th at noon.
Contact: 304-457-6262 (ABU Athletic Office)
$5.00 (Individual Game)
$25.00 (Season Ticket)
$10.00 (Individual Game)
$50.00 (Season Ticket)
PREMIUM RESERVED SEATS:
$15.00 (Individual Game)
$75.00 (Season Ticket)
Handicapped parking will be available on first-come, first-serve basis. Shuttles will be made available to transport fans from the parking areas to the stadium before game time and to return them to their cars after the game. Construction is making way for 60 parking spots directly next to the main entrance of the stadium.
A special tailgating lot will be set up at Jack Funk Field with room for RVs and larger vehicles.