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Hancock Stadium renovation

Laborers work on the main entrance to Illinois State University's Hancock Stadium on Thursday, June 20, 2013. (The Pantagraph/STEVE SMEDLEY)

NORMAL — Major renovations at Hancock Stadium should be “substantially completed” and a new main scoreboard should be in place before Illinois State plays its opening home football game on Sept. 21, Athletic Director Larry Lyons said Friday.

The ISU board of trustees on Friday authorized $1.2 million for the project that includes not only the main scoreboard but also an auxiliary scoreboard, upgraded sound system and marquee message center on Main Street.

Funding for the $1.2 million project includes $500,000 from the town of Normal as well as private donations and athletic facility reserves.

Mayor Chris Koos said before the meeting that the renovated stadium is “the front door of Illinois State University and … a positive feature in the town of Normal and an economic driver.”

Lyons told the board that glass is being installed on the field side of the new grandstands, lettering is going up and chair backs will be installed next week.

Lyons said he is “very confident” the stadium will be ready to go for the home opener, with concessions stands and restrooms open, although some “finishing things,” such as carpeting, trim and paint touch up might not be done.

“Everybody will enjoy Sept. 21,” Lyons said.

The new scoreboard should more accurately be described as “a video board,” he said.

While the video portion of the existing scoreboard is 18-by-11 feet, Lyons said the new video screen will be 48-by-20 feet and have a clearer picture.

“The players are very excited for the opportunity to play in a full stadium,” Lyons said after the meeting. “We know our fans are excited about it.”

In answer to what he described as the most frequently asked question, Lyons said green paint on the stadium is a basecoat sealant that will be covered — although Lyons said he was tempted to leave a bit of green visible just so people would keep asking him about it.

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