New timeline for $60 million construction at Dowdy–Ficklen Stadium

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - It's been close to 40 years since the south side of Dowdy–Ficklen Stadium has received some much-needed changes.

Between 16 to 18 months from now, the stadium will have more premium seats, premium parking and a new press box for the media.

Those renovations began Monday, but it will take twice as long as first projected to finish.

Inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, purple haze on the field will soon be replaced by the dust of construction.

"It's been something that we've all been working on making reality, but now you come out here, you see the fences, you see the empty parking lots, you know what's about to start," says Phillip Wood, the executive director of ECU Pirate Club.

Monday morning, construction crews began abatement on the press box, which was first placed on the south side of the stadium around 1978.

"It will definitely be a work in progress and we're excited to have it complete for the 2019 season," he says.

Initially, ECU's athletic department hoped to finish sooner than that and for less money.

"It initially started as a $55 million project to be completed over nine months, after we got initially cost estimates back, it closer to a $67 million number," Wood tells WITN.

By extending the time to close to 18 months, it brings the cost down to $60 million, which all has to be raised by donors.

Students, including athletes, can't wait for a new and improved pirate treasure the stadium will be.

"Just being a football player myself, I just, looking up and see a new stadium, it's just a great feeling being back on the field," says Brandon Henderson, an ECU football player.

"I think it's going to be awesome for the school for the university for athletics and for bringing in a bigger crowd and just exciting people more, I think it's going to be great for us," says Mikayla Stoudt, an ECU student.

Wood says during the 2018 football season, there could be a few rows of seats taken out plus a temporary press box made available until the work is complete.