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Iowa State nearing completion of stadium expansion pushing capacity to 61,000

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AMES, Iowa — One of the many reasons cited for Iowa State's lack of success in football was a stadium experience that often fell flat.

That shouldn't be much of an excuse much longer.

The Cyclones are in the final stages of a major renovation to the stadium's south end zone, part of a $60 million expansion of Jack Trice Stadium that is set to be completed in late August.

It's arguably the most ambitious renovation at the 40-year-old stadium, which will soon be the third-largest in the Big 12 with a capacity of 61,000. Iowa State opens its season Sept. 5 when it hosts Northern Iowa in front of what should be the biggest crowd in school history

"The south end zone project is something that's been discussed for 25 years," athletic director Chris Jorgensen said. "So to finally see where we're less than 100 days away from seeing it in action, everybody is really excited about that."

The stadium's original design offered 1970s-style functionality. Adjoining double-decked grandstands were surrounded by a sea of parking lots perfectly positioned for tailgating.

PHOTO: FILE - In this April 11, 2015, file photo, construction work continues in the south end zone of Jack Trice Stadium as the Iowa State football team playes during their spring NCAA college football game in Ames, Iowa. Guess who will have the Big 12's third-largest stadium in 2015? That would be Iowa State, a perpetually downtrodden program hoping to reverse a century of misery by investing in the future.  (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth, File)
FILE - In this April 11, 2015, file photo, construction work continues in the south end zone of Jack Trice Stadium as the Iowa State football team playes during their spring NCAA college football game in Ames, Iowa. Guess who will have the Big 12's third-largest stadium in 2015? That would be Iowa State, a perpetually downtrodden program hoping to reverse a century of misery by investing in the future. (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth, File)

But the place has always lacked an aesthetic charm so common with other college football stadiums.

The Cyclones are hoping this project will fix that.

The centerpiece of the new end zone will be a two-story club space, replacing a set of metal bleachers put in nearly 15 years ago. The facility will feature a glass-encased upper level with views of the field and multiple bars, accessible only to the 3,000 fans that purchase club seats.

Iowa State is hoping the club's facade will be a much cleaner look for both fans and the general public, since the road that borders the stadium serves as a de facto entrance for many heading to campus as well.

Once the end zone renovation is completed, Iowa State will remodel the parking lots behind it to further enhance the look of the stadium. Plans for that project have yet to be finalized.

The Cyclones are also putting in a new video board behind the south end zone, connecting the east and west grandstands with a new concourse and installing permanent seating on each side. Iowa State is also installing new ribbon boards in each grandstand.

The end zone project will effectively close the south side of the stadium, which should help lock in some of the noise that has routinely drifted out of the stadium.

The north end zone, which houses Iowa State's main athletic building, will remain largely open.

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