TCU's new Amon G. Carter Stadium took its first bow Thursday as the school paid tribute to the many who helped make the renovations a reality.
Donors, trustees and members of the stadium renovation committee joined those who helped design and build the stadium at a ceremony on the west side, while several thousand fans watched and toured the sparkling new stadium.
"It's amazing," TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini said. "I think the ceremony was important because we're opening the biggest building on campus and one of the most important landmarks in Fort Worth. This was our huge 'thank you' for all of those that made it possible."
Everyone involved -- from the architects, to TCU administrators, to the six founders who donated $15 million each to start the $164 million renovation -- is ecstatic with how the project turned out.
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The stadium's facade is covered in the familiar yellow-toned brick that adorns most buildings on campus.
Architects incorporated nods to Fort Worth's history and TCU's football heritage in the design. Fans will notice southwestern art deco themes throughout, something that was in the original plans but scrapped because of costs when the stadium opened in 1930.
"When we were planning this we told [the design team] that we didn't want to do it unless we could do it first-class," said Dick Lowe, one of the founders and a member of the stadium renovation committee. "Boy, they paid attention to that, because it is first-class. It surpasses Cowboys Stadium, it surpasses University of Texas' stadium, it surpasses any stadium I've ever been at. It's not the biggest, but it's doggone sure the nicest."
The TCU band, cheer squad and Super Frog were among those on hand for the ceremony. TCU officials, including donors and administrators lined up to cut a ribbon, appropriately connected to yard markers, to officially signal the stadium's opening.
TCU coach Gary Patterson, who leads the No. 20 Frogs against Grambling State at 6 p.m. Saturday, said the project has been a life-changing moment for those involved.
"It wasn't just about building a stadium to play football games in," Patterson said. "It's been about changing a community and giving students and the alumni something to be proud of for a long, long time."
Several thousand fans toured the stadium, gawking at 25 luxurious suites, checking out the view from their seats and snacking in the spacious 23,000-square foot Champions Lounge.
"I hope what it says to any one of the hundreds of thousands of people who will visit the stadium over the years is, 'Wow, Fort Worth is a great place, TCU is a great school,'" Boschini said. "This is a special day in the life for TCU."