A change at Nippert means a change for all


The University of Cincinnati is making many exciting changes to its athletic facilities.

Let’s start with some background. The Nippert Stadium renovation began directly after the Cats’ 2013 season.

The estimated $86 million project is the first major facelift for Nippert since 1992. Stadium capacity will expand from 35,000 to nearly 40,000 seats.

The new structure will be about 1 ½ stories taller than the former press box and about 130 yards long. The curvature of the facility will match the upper deck on the east side and contain four levels: A press and operations level, suite level, scholarship club level, and patio suites mezzanine level.

The west concourse also is being renovated, including concession stands and restrooms. The old press box has been torn down, and work is proceeding on the foundation of the new structure. There will be more than double the current amount of both restroom and concession availability, University architect Beth McGrew said.

One reason for the expansion is the hope of getting into a bigger conference such as The Big 10 or Big 12. I wish UC would push for our home gates to be played at Paul Brown Stadium. I along with many UC hopefuls would be happy with either outcome.

The construction had caused many changes for thousands of students city-wide. Some of these changes include increased ticket prices for Bearcat games played at Paul Brown Stadium. Concession prices are also much higher within Paul Brown Stadium. The increase in prices stifles most student’s willingness to attend the games.

The renovations also are causing changes to be made to the OHSAA high school football playoffs. The high school regional semifinals and finals won’t be able to be played at Nippert. Alternative venues include Welcome Stadium in Dayton and Mt. St. Joe. This affects us directly. Elder will hopefully be playing in both games and a long ride to Dayton would not help our chances of winning.

Backup Quarterback Ryan Custer admit to being disgruntled about the not being able to play at Nippert this year.

I sat down with senior defensive backs Sam Coffaro and Matt Peters to hear their take on the subject. I started off my questioning by asking about the experience of playing a Nippert Stadium last year.

Peters said, “I had always wanted to play at bigger venue such as Nippert.”

Coffaro followed by saying, “Nippert is a unique atmosphere. It was cool to look up and see the separation of school colors.”

Nippert reminds me of The Pit because of the cheering section being right on the field.”

— Matt Peters

He recalls seeing the distinct variations of colors on both sides of the stands.

When asked about the field Peters stated, “The brand new turf made you feel lighter on your feet.” Coffaro added that the field goal posts were skinnier which made his job of kicking more intense.

But would these players rather play a neutral site football game at Nippert or at another venue such as Welcome Stadium in Dayton?

Cofarro said, “I would much rather play at Nippert as it is more like a home game then at Welcome Stadium.”

Peters answer was along the same lines. He said, “Nippert reminds me of The Pit because of the cheering section being right on the field.” Coffaro added that “Welcome Stadium is a glorified Oak Hills stadium.”

UC has also proposed a renovation plan for Fifth Third Arena. The project would reduce the amount of seating, but improve visibility in the arena. It would also upgrade club areas, restrooms, and even add a new roof.

UC’s recent renovation of Nippert  cost $86 million, funded by donors and bonds.  If the arena project is started, it would reportedly take two years, starting in April 2016 and wrapping up in November 2017. The accelerated schedule is desired to avoid disrupting more than one basketball season.
Changing from the norm is hard for anybody. This temporary change seems to be the best option for the future of UC’s athletic department. I

f you’re interested in the construction of Nippert at all here is a link to a live construction cam: http://www.gobearcats.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/Nippert-Construction-Cam.html

Here’s to a successful future for all University of Cincinnati athletics.