GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) You'll see some changes taking place at Dowdy-Ficklen stadium beginning Monday.
Demolition on the old press box is slated to begin Monday in the first step in the southside stadium renovation project.
In addition to the new press area, the $60 million project will add a southside tower with 1,000 premium seats, and many other enhancements.
The Pirate Club president says the renovation gives them the opportunity to transform the entire face of ECU athletics.
Construction is expected to take 16 to 18 months.
GREENVILLE, N.C. - In an effort to mitigate escalating construction costs in eastern North Carolina and the state, the completion timeline for the Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Southside Renovation Project has been extended from the previously scheduled nine-month span to a 16-18 month period.
The ECU Educational Foundation (Pirate Club) Executive Committee unanimously approved the extension during a meeting late Wednesday.
The reevaluation of the initial timeline was prompted after construction estimates received by university officials last week were significantly higher than anticipated and initially forecast. The increasing demand for projects in the state of North Carolina, along with added contractor premiums to complete the work within a nine-month window, were cited as primary reasons for the surge in prices.
“A few months ago we learned through our Construction Managers at Risk (CMR) that costs of materials and labor were escalating dramatically as market demands tighten throughout our state," ECU Director of Athletics Jeff Compher said. "Therefore, we prepared to seek additional funding authority to cover the anticipated increases with the goal of completing the project on time. However, last week we learned that costs had exceeded their projections and we asked the CMR to determine solutions and options for us to consider.
"After several days of meetings and discussions we came to the conclusion that our best option was to extend the original construction timeline of 9-11 months to a new timeline of 16-18 months. This new option will allow us to stay within the revenue model we developed to finance the project in its entirety.”
While the extended timeline will enable ECU to complete the entire scope of the project in a financially responsible manner, it still plans to begin construction in December after all required approvals have been received.
Members of ECU's Construction Committee were in attendance at Wednesday's meeting and collectively agreed the extension served in the best interest of the project's comprehensive success.
"Given the restraints on the bid, including double-shifts to meet deadlines and the safety liabilities involved, it was a very unattractive one to contractors," committee member and E.R. Lewis Construction Company President Harvey Lewis said. "People have to make concessions at times and I applaud the university's decision to avoid demanding shift work and keep safety on the forefront. Our mindset should be one to 'do what you can do instead of what you're hoping to do.'"
Donors who have already purchased premium seats (suites, loges and club level) will be notified immediately of the development.
Updates on the progress of the construction, which include impacts for the 2018 football season, will be made available on ECUPirates.com throughout the new timeline.