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Purdue Football Master Plan: Welcome to the 21st Century

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Purdue is finally moving forward on some major renovation plans.

Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday was a big step for Purdue football, at least from a facilities standpoint. Morgan Burke announced that the Board of Trustees approved the football performance complex plan for $65 million. The badly needed renovation and expansion of the Mollenkopf will bring Purdue in line with the rest of the Big Ten when it comes to the locker room, weight room, and other amenities. Thanks to Drew Brees and four other football alumni more than $12 million has been raised toward the $65 million price tag.

Another exciting part of the plan was the announcement of the long delayed Phase II of the Ross-Ade Stadium renovation. I call it Phase II because Phase I was the Pavilion and new press box that was added after the 2001 season. Phase II was long expected to be an upper deck on the East Side with more suites, but clearly attendance has not dictated a need for that. It has been put off and put off to where Phase II has evolved into the current plan.

The renovation does not currently have a start date, but don't expect anything to begin before August 2017. That is the projected completion date of the performance facility and Purdue needs to get the money for what will likely be a nine figure renovation. Still, the improvements to Ross-Ade are also needed. Here are the major improvements that they hope to achieve:

New South End Zone Building - This has been long discussed, but we finally have a couple fo renderings of how it would look:

Building this building would move the main scoreboard and video board to the north end of the stadium across the top of the bowl, which is a large enterprise in its own right. The South End Zone would also serve as a large multi-use area with suites, a club area, a student tailgate, and "multiple seating options". Sadly, it lacks the train cars from our favorite fan design, but it does look really nice.

Lights - Finally, is all I can say. With Iowa now joining the permanent lights crew it leaves Purdue, Michigan State, and Northwestern as the only major FBS schools without lights. If the goal is to get on the same level as the rest of the Big Ten lights are needed.

Ribbon Boards - Ribbon boards are the new "in" thing for stadiums and arenas. Personally, I could not care less about them, but they do allow for in-game advertising as well as stats reporting, so it sounds good.

Brick Addition to Field Wall - At least it will look cool.

The final plan looks something like this:

Overall, this looks good. There would also be improvements to the pavilion too. The downside is that Purdue needs to raise the money to do them. I have a feeling much of the Ross-Ade renovations will rely on the next Big Ten TV contract. We're certainly not going to get a boost from season ticket sales any time soon and you have to feel like the $12 million already donated was tapping out the resources of football alumni. Both plans will at least get Purdue on the level with the rest of the conference at least from a facilities standpoint.