Even though workers have already started moving dirt for the LT Smith Stadium renovations, Western Kentucky University officials as well as state legislators officially broke ground Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007.
"This is an important economic development opportunity for our community and our region as well," said WKU President, Gary Ransdell.
Even though it was a cold February morning in Bowling Green, Ky., local residents, state and local leaders, and WKU football players gathered to watch history being made through a shovel full of dirt. The move to division 1-A in football was taken one step further today as ground was broken for renovations that will add a second side to LT Smith Stadium. Already visions of how WKU will benefit from the move are being talked about.
"As they get ESPN type games it'll increase the profile of the university, the athletics and academics do play hand in hand and the way this is important to academics, it improves the quality of life on the campus it raises the profile of the university," said State Senator, Brett Guthrie.
"The kind of energy that is going to bring to our community is going to be very significant as we continue to grow South Central Kentucky," Ransdell said.
Guthrie also said the state will play a small role in propelling the stadium project forward, but most of the work will be done by the university.
"There's not any money being taken from the taxpayers, it's by season tickets, contributions, other ways the university is financing this. So our role is rather minimal other than authorizing them to go forward," Guthrie said.
Ransdell also said the university's goal is to gain national prominence. Having a competitive, division 1-A football program will help the university reach that goal.