Photo credit: Charlotte 49ers Athletics
Updated on September 22, 2023 with additional information
Yesterday evening it came to my attention that UNC Charlotte has multiple line items in the 2023 Appropriations Act, which will be voted on today. The potential implications for Charlotte Athletics cannot be understated. Charlotte faithful literally have millions of reasons to pay attention.
I highlighted this news on Twitter yesterday evening, about there being $25,000,000 for “Stadium Upgrades” listed on the bill. In addition to the stadium upgrades (which is related specifically to Jerry Richardson Stadium expansion), UNC Charlotte is slated to receive $36,000,000 for a comprehensive renovation of Smith Hall, $45,000,000 for a comprehensive renovation of Colvard Hall, and $1,500,000 for Esports.
State appropriations, to my knowledge, have never been dispersed to Charlotte for athletics infrastructure purposes.
As most know, Charlotte 49ers Athletics launched the Evergreen Athletics Facilities Master Vision in late-May of 2022. It’s a comprehensive 12 to 15-year roadmap for Charlotte 49ers infrastructure improvements and net-new facilities. Jerry Richardson Stadium expansion is a cornerstone of that vision, and this phase of the project intends to increase stadium capacity to approximately 30,000, effectively doubling its current capacity. In addition to seating, it will include suits, premium seating, new space for media and broadcasting personnel, hospitality, and more.
There is a large matching gift from an anonymous donor that can potentially provide an additional $25,000,000-30,000,000. That matching gift, plus the state appropriated funds (should the bill pass as it stands and the matching gift be unlocked with these funds, or other contributions), places Charlotte in great position to move forward with Jerry Richardson Stadium expansion.
The Charlotte administration is currently in the middle of the Advanced Planning phase for Jerry Richardson Stadium expansion; submittals for this phase were due on August 1st, and they recently conducted interviews with four design firms on September 11th. Next week’s UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday the 27th could include a vote on architectural approval, a huge step forward for this project.