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New Governors Stadium to be unveiled Saturday

For nearly seven decades, Governors Stadium has served as the home of Austin Peay State University football and track and field teams. But nothing in those 68 years compares to the stadium transformation that occurred since the 2013 Governors football campaign ended.

For nearly seven decades, Governors Stadium has served as the home of Austin Peay State University football and track and field teams. But nothing in those 68 years compares to the stadium transformation that occurred since the 2013 Governors football campaign ended.

A ceremonial demolition of Governors Stadium began following the Nov. 19 contest against Southeast Missouri. Despite the coldest winter in recent time, including ice conditions that shut down the University for three days, the construction crew lost just one day of work.

Even a 3-foot-by-5 foot sinkhole that opened up into a 40-foot crater in May could not deter the $19 million project.

When APSU kicks off its 2014 home season against Chattanooga, 4 p.m., Saturday, it will be in a Governors Stadium that literally has been rebuilt. The massive renovation has replaced the west side grandstands with a new structure, including state-of-the-art locker room and lounge area for the student-athletes and coaches, as well as skyboxes, club-type seating and new chairback seating for the fans.

Those on levels three and four find the amenities of luxury seating. The skyboxes, which feature a sports-bar like atmosphere, are tiered stadium-type seating with up to 22 seats per viewing room. In addition, each skybox has a bar with locations for bar stools, tables and chairs to seat four to six people. Also included are sliding glass windows at the front of the viewing rooms, a push button to control a public address speaker, and two television monitors.

The main concourses will feature enhanced concession stands along with sport murals created to honor memorable Govs players and teams, with the hopes more will be created for future stars. The conference champions from 1948 and 1977 have walls spaces as well as the program's only back-to-back eight-win seasons in 1964 and 1965.

Outside the southwest corner of the stadium, the Hendricks Fox "Walk of History" in the Blake Jenkins Plaza will list the names of all lettermen to wear the red and white.

The new stadium also created a revamped tailgating experience in a more central location outside the stadium.

Meanwhile, the field itself has been replaced with its fourth artificial turf, FieldTurf XT, manufactured by FieldTurf, a Tarkett Sports Company. The turf includes the new Governors logo at midfield, while a new track will greet the Ohio Valley Conference Outdoor Track and Field championships in May 2015.

Coaching offices and a new weight room are on the horizon for Phase II of the project.

It has been a long time (1946) since Clarksville and Governors athletics received a boost, when the city of Clarksville opened its new Municipal Stadium at the then-edge of the former Austin Peay State College. The stadium became the home field for local schools and APSC for football games and track events.

The city maintained its ownership and operation of the Municipal Stadium until 1970. In that year, as a result of a cooperative agreement between Austin Peay, the county officials and the city officials, the city conveyed title to one-third of the stadium to the State of Tennessee for the university. The other one-third went to Montgomery County.

Austin Peay, Montgomery County and the city of Clarksville were authorized to appropriate funds to the newly created Stadium Authority for constructing, remodeling and operating the stadium, including adding east side seating. The members of the Stadium Authority were appointed by the county and by the university.

In addition, the natural grass surface—because it was being used by the local schools and Governors alike—was replaced by Astroturf (1970) and the east side two-level press was constructed in 1979.

The stadium was in desperate need of a new turf in the early 1990s. However, the Clarksville-Montgomery County school system, which was amidst growth and expansion, indicated it could not afford to be a part of the turf replacement. As a result, Austin Peay agreed to purchase Municipal Stadium from the Stadium Authority in 1993.

Stadia Turf replaced the AstroTurf, which was placed by the Stadium Authority, before 1993 season's start. The playing surface was changed again in 2004, when Polytan surfaces were installed on the football field (Mega Grass) and track (Polytan WSS 15). That surface helped attract the Tennessee Titans for preseason camp in 2006.

Other than a new Daktronics scoreboard being erected for the 2007 season, those were the last major upgrades until plans were announced Aug. 20, 2012, to all but replace Governors Stadium when $16 million was approved by the state for the new construction.

- Brad Kirtley, APSU Sports Information Director

 Governors Stadium Timeline
1946 Municipal Stadium opens with seating capacity of 5,500
1970 University gains one-third controlling interest in Municipal Stadium and the stadium is renovated, adding AstroTurf artificial surface to the football field and installing an eight-lane Tartan track surface.
1976 Host OVC Track & Field Championships for the first time with Austin Peay winning its only men's track and field title.
1993 University purchases Municipal Stadium from the Stadium Authority, renames it Governors Stadium and installs Stadia Turf surface.
2004 Stadium and track surfaces replaced with Polytan artificial surfaces. Governors Stadium hosts 2004 OVC Track & Field Championships.
2006 Tennessee Titans use Austin Peay facilities, including Governors Stadium, for summer training camp.
2007 Daktronics scoreboard and video display installed in south end zone.
2012 Plans announced for a $16.9-million stadium renovation project to replace west grandstand, renovate east grandstand and replace both the football and track surfaces.
2014 New Governors Stadium facilities open, Sept. 13.
2015 Governors Stadium to host 2015 OVC Track & Field Championships, May 1-2.