“I actually think the stadium looks quite nice,” said McEntyre. “It looks tastefully done and in the spirit of the rest of the buildings on campus.”
The Campus Carrier, Berry College’s student newspaper, recently released a sketch of the latest plans for Valhalla, which will be the name of the school’s new stadium.
“I think it’s perfect for a brand-new team,” said Kelly Dickerson, a Berry senior.
The stadium will be built between the Cage Center and U.S. 27.
The location will take advantage of a natural berm for seating on one side of the stadium and the existing parking lot that was added for The Cage, Berry’s main gymnasium.
Berry is slated to begin football action in 2013 and may have to play some of its home games at an alternate location during the initial campaign.
Berry Sports Information Director Bob Lowe confirmed that the college would most likely play its first home games at Barron Stadium in the event Valhalla is not complete in time for the 2013 season.
Lowe said he has heard that actual construction would not get under way until the $5.5 million needed to build the stadium is in hand.
“Berry is known for getting things done quickly. They don’t want to borrow from endowment money. Everything has to be raised privately,” Lowe said. “I know they’ve been pretty active (in fundraising).”
In addition to the $5.5 million for the stadium and track, the college is seeking to raise $1.5 million to renovate the old Richards Gymnasium, which will serve as a fieldhouse and sports office complex. Another $1.2 million will be needed for upgrades to the college entrance.
The Campus Carrier report indicates approximately $3.9 million has been pledged to date.
Valhalla will include traditional stadium-style seating on only one side of the field, with a natural grass berm on the opposite side.
The playing surface will run parallel to Martha Berry Highway, with the “home” grandstands and press box on the side closest to The Cage and the parking lot.
The footprint of the stadium was recently adjusted approximately 50 yards further south after it was determined that bald eagles were nesting near the proposed stadium site.
The college received a special permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allowing the construction of the stadium to move forward.
The permit requires Berry to maintain existing vegetation between the nest site and proposed construction zone, as well as planting more than 200 new trees on all sides of the nest area.
The college and Georgia Department of Natural Resources have been charged with the development of a monitoring schedule for the nest site within seven to 14 days of construction activity.