Before the awestruck adjectives come rushing to the minds of TCU football fans as they get their first up-close look at Amon G. Carter Stadium's massive ongoing renovations, school officials want to reinforce the word of the day: patience.
From the chancellor to the coach, TCU officials are warning fans to expect a few hiccups when the Horned Frogs play their home opener against Louisiana-Monroe at 1 p.m. Saturday.
While many fans will be getting their first look at the impressive work already completed, they are cautioned to prepare for a work in progress and a true construction zone. The $160 million renovations, which began in November and are scheduled to be complete before the Horned Frogs' Sept. 8, 2012, opener against Grambling State, are primed to be a cathedral to the game as well as the showpiece of the studied architecture dotting the TCU campus.
But the 2011 season could prove to be a patience-thinning, logistical nightmare for fans and stadium and school personnel alike.
Expect parking delays, clogged pedestrian lines and a not-yet-ready-for-prime-time stadium, with temporary toilets, and less variety among the concessions.
"If everyone could be really tolerant and patient with us [for this first game] because we're working through a lot of things that we don't even know of until we're there," TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini said. "It will be a safe environment, it just won't be as fancy as it's supposed to be."
But Boschini, along with TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte, are excited to see and hear the reactions from fans getting their first look.
"The fans are going to get a glimpse at what the future can be," Del Conte said. "They are going to see it taking shape. When you walk in, you're going to get an early glimpse at something that is truly going to be special a year from now. I hope they come away feeling really proud of what we're building."
The key is "are building." Construction crews will shut down at noon Friday to let gameday staff and TCU personnel begin a frantic setup. All nonessential personnel will be asked to depart the stadium in less than two hours after the game is over, in part as a safety measure, and also to allow construction crews the chance to get back to work.
"That's why we switched to all daytime games," Boschini said. "If everyone will just stay patient and stay in the lines they're supposed to be in, that would help us out a lot. I think they'll be amazed at how beautiful it's going to look. You can definitely see the potential, just right now it's pretty raw."
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760