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New features, high expectations as ECU breaks ground on stadium construction

Since the Southside Renovation Project was first announced, the timeline has shifted from 9 to 16 months. (Ashley Boles, NewsChannel 12 photo)

If you're in Greenville or a fan of East Carolina University football, you probably already know work expanding Dowdy-Ficken Stadium is well underway.

Thursday, ECU Athletics held an officials groundbreaking ceremony for the project. The Southside Renovation Project to the stadium has been in the works for quite some time. Now that it's finally getting started, ECU students are excited about what the stadium will look like in the near future.

"If you go do D1 schools, nationally around the world you'll see their stadiums are absolutely amazing and we want to be able to compete at that level, said Hannah Jeffries, a junior.

It's no secret Pirate fans are ready for an updated stadium.

"I can't wait to see the new stadium," said Lauren Thayer, a sophomore. "I think they're doing great renovations on it."

Once complete, Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium will have a great look with field level club seating, 1,000 new seats and what fans want most ... better parking. There's also premium elements such as cable and electrical outlets close by in the parking lots to enhance the tailgating experience.

Other goals must be met first. Since the Southside Renovation Project was first announced, the timeline has shifted from 9 to 16 months. This means it will not be complet until the fall 2019 football season.

There are other factors, too. Around $60 million. So far, ECU Athletics already has $30 million for the project and it's making students hopeful their Pirates will make a comeback.

"Better recruits in and everythig and we'll, you know, get a better football team," said Addison Peak, a junior.

Some of the other features that will come from the project include a brand new locker room, a student athlete lounge and, according to Athletic Director Jeff Compher, a new sports medicine building is also under way.

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