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WKU Reveals Renderings for Hilltopper Fieldhouse and Press Box

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WKU revealed plans for a new fieldhouse and press box on campus, Friday afternoon.  This will add to the construction of the new Gordon Ford College of Business building that broke ground earlier this year, in WKU’s strategic campus plan

“The Hilltopper Fieldhouse will position our student-athletes for additional success,” President Timothy C. Caboni said. “But more than an athletics facility, the Fieldhouse also will provide unparalleled, technology-rich, indoor practice spaces for our Big Red Marching Band, our E-Sports teams, and our Forensics team.”

The 120,00-square-foot Hilltopper Fieldhouse will be built in between Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium and Nick Denes field on the land that houses the WKU Forensics team and E-sports programs. The Fieldhouse will be practice space for the Big Red Marching Band and Hilltopper Athletics.

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The 15,300-square-foot press box will be situated above the current Harbaugh Club.  It will become the new first-class home for television broadcasts, radio booths, coaches’ booths, working press, and game operations for Hilltopper Football games.

“For the football program, we had some real growing pains,” Athletic Director Todd Stewart said. “I mean from 2008 to 2010 we had a 4-32 record, but then you fast forward to where we are now and it’s a program that’s won a bowl game each of the last three years, and that growth has not been matched by our facilities and in particular the press box.  Now what we’ll have is we’ll have broadcast facilities that will be up to date for the print media, for broadcast media so it’ll be first class in every respect to match the growth of the program in other areas.”

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The renderings were first revealed Friday, Oct. 20, during the Board of Regents committee meetings.

When asked about what prompted these changes, Athletic Director Todd Stewart said that the college sports world is now ‘”an arms race out there,” and that they actually “had had discussions about this back in 2019 and we’re very close to moving forward before COVID hit.”

“Unfortunately, beyond that in 2019 our economy was in a much better position than it is right now and so the only negative of doing it now is things cost a whole lot more than they did back in 2019, but you know we’ll overcome that.” Stewart said. “We’ll get these things completed by 2025 and we’ll be in the best position we’ve ever been in from a facility standpoint.”

These changes are expected to help not only improve the look and feel of WKU’s campus but attract the future of the school and the sports programs, as well as bring increased numbers to the other programs enhanced by these changes.

“The Hilltopper Fieldhouse will be an incredible complex for our student-athletes to utilize, as well as serving as the home to our Hilltopper Baseball program,” Athletic Director Todd Stewart said. “Situated between Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium and Nick Denes Field, this state-of-the-art facility will enhance every one of our sport programs. The indoor space will allow for year-round, climate-controlled training for all 16 of our programs and puts us in the best position, from a facilities standpoint, we have ever been in the history of WKU Athletics once it is completed!”

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WKU selected K. Norman Berry Associates Architects in association with HKS Architects for the project.

“The KNBA/HKS team is excited to be involved with the Hilltopper Fieldhouse and Press Box project,” KNBA Principal Architect Tim Doelling said. “The Fieldhouse will be a tremendous resource for WKU and the greater Bowling Green community. It will help to bring students, with a wide variety of talents and interests, to the University and give them more reasons to stay on The Hill for their educational journey. The innovative mix of programs, staff, and students that will call the building home will create a dynamic facility with unique opportunities for collaboration and growth. Ultimately the Fieldhouse will be yet another tool the University provides to help students achieve success during their time at WKU and beyond.”

Construction on Hilltopper Fieldhouse is expected to begin officially later this fall after the conclusion of football season.  It is hoped to be completed by late 2025, while construction of the press box will begin in December and is expected to be ready by the kickoff of football season in 2024.

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