It’s no coincidence that Purdue’s athletic department has operated at a profit for the past 23 years. Such a feat takes careful planning.
Now in his 20th year as athletic director at Purdue, Morgan Burke has been delicate with his department’s budget. This has allowed for large developments like the Mackey Complex Project to come into fruition. Burke is now eyeing the next phase of facilities renovations.
Purdue has two years of debt reserves in the bank for Ross-Ade Stadium, and it could be used for some changes to the 89-year-old facility. Speaking at the Big Ten’s annual spring meetings on Tuesday, Burke outlined potential plans.
“It’s time to take a look at that,” Burke said. “We feel we have enough to make the north horseshoe accommodate family pricing. I don’t think people should have to worry about that. But right now, we have to enhance the fan experience.”
One of the primary inclusions of a Ross-Ade Stadium facelift would be redesigning the south end zone area, which is currently occupied by bleacher seating. There have been photos leaked of a pavilion just beyond the end zone. Burke suggested the potential design options could be displayed for fan input.
“I would expect by June 30th, we’ll have a couple of models,” said Burke. “We don’t have a timeline, I think we’ll float them publically so people can weigh in and see what they like. There’s one that’s more student-centric; there’s one that’s maybe more young-alum-centric; there are some hybrids in between. We’ll show that to people.”
Burke also said there could be plans made to renovate the east and west sides of the stadium, too, though he didn’t discuss specifics. In previous interviews, Burke has expressed his desire to add an upper deck to the east side of the stadium which could connect to a north-end upper deck.
Burke did stress potential renovations to Ross-Ade Stadium would include repainting the building’s steel structure, which he said is no cheap process.
With a restructured schedule in place for the Big Ten beginning in 2014, scheduling for Burke has been made a bit more complicated, leading to uncertainty of future opponents and, as a result, future ticket sales, making the safety debt reserves ever so important.
Ross-Ade Stadium most recently underwent renovations in 2003, completing a two-year rebuild which included a new press box, a 200-seat indoor club level, 34 luxury suites, and expanded concourse, and more.
There is no timetable for this project, but Burke is hopeful it can give Purdue’s football stadium a needed facelift.
“We don’t have to do that all in one year, but I want that all to be part of the project,” he said. “It’s major maintenance and fan experience, you can put it all in one pocket.”