By Tim Gardner
A sure sign of how much growth any university is experiencing is evidenced by construction on its campus. Therefore, it’s obvious that Appalachian State University is continuing to grow by leaps and bounds.
Appalachian State’s new four-story, 477-space parking deck opened on Aug. 14 — just in time for the start of fall classes in the 2019-2020 school year and its new $38.2 million north end zone project at Kidd Brewer Stadium is progressing. Additionally, construction is also underway on four new residence halls on campus.
The new parking facility is located at the site of the former Winkler Residence Hall, with access at the lower level from the stadium parking lot and at the top via access behind Bowie and Eggers residence halls. Project leaders worked feverishly to complete the parking deck in time for the start of the fall semester and the first home football game against East Tennessee State on Aug. 31.
But with ongoing construction often comes parking and traffic flow problems. Construction of new residence halls has displaced a number of parking spaces in the stadium area. However, parking and traffic flow have gone well with no major concerns according to school officials. Last Saturday’s game was an indicator.
Megan Hayes, Appalachian State Associate Vice Chancellor & Chief Communications Officer commented: “For App State’s opening home football game on August 31, both parking and traffic flow were very smooth. There were many changes, but our fans were pleased overall with the new tailgating options and the way we handled the gameday experience.”
Hayes added: “App State Police worked with Boone Police to manage traffic flow, and with the new connector, we were able to empty the stadium area quickly. This connector serves as a pedestrian walkway, and can also be opened for event traffic and emergency vehicles. (And) the new, 477-space parking deck next to Eggers Residence Hall was a popular tailgating location.”
The parking deck and four new residence halls are part of a $191 million public-private development package that will provide 2,100 to 2,200 student beds to replace Bowie, Coltrane, Eggers, Gardner, Winkler, Justice and East residence halls. All but East Hall are located on the west side of campus.
When the entire project is completed, in 2022, there will be 927 parking spaces in the stadium area — 477 in the parking deck, 180 behind the Mark E. Ricks Athletics Complex at Kidd Brewer Stadium and 270 adjacent to the residence halls under construction, according to the university.
The next completion date for the multi-phase project will be in 2020, when two of the four residential buildings, 100 and 200, are scheduled to be finished.
Construction also began this summer for an 87,400-square-foot mixed-use development facility that will replace Owens Field House, which according to school officials, has various maintenance issues. The facility is anticipated for completion before the 2020 football season.
The initial phase of this construction project is the demolition of the field house and east side ticket booth at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
The new facility will include approximately 1,000 club level stadium seats, athletic training rooms, locker rooms, a sports medicine room, coaches’ offices, team meeting rooms, a retail store, ticket office, banquet and dining space, a catering kitchen and a 9,000-square-foot orthopedic clinic to be leased by a third party.
To combat any parking and traffic problems this fall—especially during football season when thousands more people are on campus—the university established new parking procedures while the construction continues.
Gameday disability parking is located in the Hill Street Lot. This lot is serviced by a direct AppalCART shuttle to the stadium starting five hours before kickoff and ending in the fourth quarter. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, a bus (with wheelchair ramps) will be stationed outside of the East Gate at the stadium to transport paratransit passengers to the Hill Street Parking lot for two hours after the game ends. Paratransit vehicles will be running until Stadium Drive is blocked near the end of the fourth quarter and will resume after Stadium Drive is opened.
Fans approaching the stadium from Rivers Street/by walking up Stadium Drive are encouraged to use the East Gate entrance. Fans with seats on the West side can enter through the East gate and proceed to the West side by circling the South end (where the videoboard is located).
There will be more narrow entries at a revamped West Gate (near the same location as in the past, but smaller) as well as at the Upper West Gate staircase that begins close to the Sofield Indoor Practice Facility and descends toward the concourse ramp on the West side. The West Gate will include lanes for Appalachian State students, West side ticket holders, club/suite ticket holders and player/guest will call.
There is an area for ticket sales and will call at the northeast corner of the stadium, near The Rock landmark, that opens at 11:30 a.m.
New or updated parking lots Appalachian State has designated for use at home football and basketball games during the 2019-2020 season include:
Top of the Rock: This NEW lot is located behind the Mark E. Ricks Athletics Complex, adjacent to the current Champions Lot (previous site of the Appalachian tennis courts). Donors assigned to Top of the Rock should utilize Stadium Drive, turning onto Jack Branch Drive and following the road around the stadium, past the Sofield Indoor Practice Facility and beyond the Champions Lot. Top of the Rock is the final parking area on Jack Branch Drive behind the Mark E. Ricks Athletics Complex and will be clearly marked for your convenience. You will exit postgame utilizing the same route and turn right onto Rivers Street from Stadium Drive.
Champions Lot: This lot remains located directly behind the Mark E. Ricks Athletics Complex. Donors assigned to the Champions Lot should utilize Stadium Drive, turning onto Jack Branch Drive and following the road around the stadium, past the Sofield Indoor Practice Facility. Champions Lot will be the next lot on the right and will be clearly marked for your convenience. You will exit postgame utilizing the same route and turn right onto Rivers Street from Stadium Drive.
Softball Lot: This NEW lot is located between the Sofield Indoor Practice Facility and Sywassink/Lloyd Family Softball Stadium. Donors assigned to Softball Lot should utilize Stadium Drive, turning onto Jack Branch Drive and following the road around the stadium. Take an immediate right after passing the plaza for the Sywassink/Lloyd Family Softball Stadium but before reaching the Sofield Indoor Practice Facility. The lot will be clearly marked for your convenience. You will exit postgame utilizing the same route and turn right onto Rivers Street from Stadium Drive.
Mountaineer Lot: This NEW lot is located adjacent to Bowie Hall & Eggers Hall, close to Kidd Brewer Stadium. The Mountaineer Lot is comprised of the former Bowie/Eggers parking lot and the top of the new Stadium Deck that’s flush with the Bowie/Eggers lot. Donors assigned to the Mountaineer Lot should utilize Stadium Drive, turning onto Jack Branch Drive and taking an immediate right after Bowie Hall. The lot will be clearly marked for your convenience and have two points of exit postgame. You may exit postgame utilizing the same route or by proceeding down through the levels of the Stadium Deck to the new exit road next to the Schaefer Center, although fans are encouraged to go through the Stadium Deck for a faster exit. The new exit road will provide one-way access with a left turn onto Rivers Street.
Stadium Deck: This NEW lot is located between Eggers Hall & Frank Hall. Donors assigned to the Stadium Deck should utilize Stadium Drive, turning onto Jack Branch Drive and taking a right before Bowie Hall. The lot will be clearly marked for your convenience, and have two points of exit postgame. You may exit postgame utilizing the same route or by proceeding down through the levels of the Stadium Deck to the new exit road next to the Schaefer Center. The new exit road will provide one-way access with a left turn onto Rivers Street.
Peacock Lot: Formerly named the “Raley Lot,” this game day lot is now officially named Peacock Lot. In order to assist with postgame traffic congestion, ASU Police will send cars out of the Peacock Lot onto Rivers Street all in one direction, with that direction based on the flow of traffic at the time.
A map of these can be accessed at appstatesports.com/news/2019/7/25/athletics-new-lots-highlight-2019-football-parking-options.aspx?path=general
Single-game parking options are now available for this year’s Appalachian State home football games.
Premium Single-Game Parking Options:
These lots require the appropriate assigned hang tag permit to enter lot. A limited number of permits are available.
Festival Single-Game Parking Options:
Single-game parking at the HHS Lot (132 Poplar Grove Connector) is $25 per car. Shuttles will take fans from the lot to the Peacock Circle beginning at 9 a.m. on game day. This lot is first come, first serve.
RV accessible parking is $250 per vehicle and based on availability.
Further information about these parking options and pricing can be obtained by calling the Yosef Club at 828-262-3108.
In addition to the on-campus parking lots and decks, the town of Boone has information that’s available by logging onto:.exploreboone.com/things-to-do/guide-game-day-parking.
Also, AppalCART game day bus routes can be obtained at appalcart.com/gameday
Another feature at Appalachian State this fall is alcohol sales being implemented at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
After Governor Roy Cooper signed North Carolina House Bill 389 into law on June 26 to allow public universities to sell beer and wine at athletics facilities, Appalachian State University’s Board of Trustees approved a resolution on July 25 to allow the university to seek alcohol sales permits for athletics facilities.
Gillin said in a statement that university officials and community partners collaborated to develop sales policies and procedures that prioritize a safe, positive experience for all attendees.
“We appreciate everyone who has been part of this thorough, diligent effort to further enhance the game-day experience for our fans,” Gillin said. “The atmosphere at The Rock is already among the best in the country, and we believe these new options will be a positive addition. Throughout the planning process, we have prioritized fan safety and security and want to maintain a family-friendly environment on game days.”
Beer will be sold at six different locations — three in the east concourse, two in the west concourse and one in the south end zone behind the video board — and served by Red Moon Catering and Reid’s Catering. Wine was not be sold at the Aug. 31 home game, but Appalachian State is looking at wine options for future games.
The beer sold at the stadium will include the new Appalachian Mountain Brewery Yosef Golden Ale — a licensed product announced on Aug. 14. The Appalachian State University Foundation Inc. holds the permits and is responsible for purchasing all alcoholic beverages sold at university athletics events, and is purchasing products from multiple distributors.
Policies and Procedures for these alcohol sales includes:
Service begins with the opening of main gates, two hours prior to kickoff, and ends at the completion of the third quarter.
All patrons will be required to produce valid identification, which will be checked at the point of sale during each transaction.
Per state law, patrons 21 years of age or older will be permitted to purchase a maximum of one alcoholic beverage per transaction with valid identification.
Patrons will not be permitted to leave the stadium with alcohol purchased within the venue.
Law enforcement and contracted security staff will monitor the concourse and seating areas for underage drinking, beverage pass-offs and problematic patrons or situations.
Public service announcements about drinking responsibly will be shown on the video board and announced via the stadium’s public address system.
Policies and procedures will be subject to change and modification as the process evolves. Plans for beer and wine sales at additional Appalachian State athletics venues continue to be evaluated.
There were no reported problems stemming from the alcohol sales at last Saturday’s game.
The Mountaineers host Charlotte this Saturday, Sept. 7.