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Originally published September 21, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified September 21, 2007 at 2:08 AM

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UW Notebook | Stadium renovation could start by Dec. '08

The earliest the University of Washington could begin renovating Husky Stadium is December 2008, with the best early estimate for completion...

Seattle Times staff reporter

The earliest the University of Washington could begin renovating Husky Stadium is December 2008, with the best early estimate for completion is 2011, former Gov. Dan Evans said Thursday.

Evans chairs the committee responsible for developing the stadium's renovation plans. In a meeting with the UW Board of Regents on Thursday, Evans and athletic director Todd Turner laid out a possible timeline for renovating the Pac-10's oldest stadium.

"It's not a matter of will we do anything to Husky Stadium," Turner said. "It's just a matter of when."

Ideally work would begin in December 2008, or at least before August 2009, when Sound Transit begins building an underground station at Husky Stadium. That project is not expected to end until after the 2013 football season and figures to significantly complicate UW's plans.

"If we could get started in there and do a big chunk of what we want to do before they start moving on the excavation, that would be a huge, huge advantage," Evans said.

If UW can get started early, Turner said it's possible the Huskies could begin play in the renovated stadium in 2010, but that's the least likely scenario.

Evans said construction will more likely begin in late 2009, and in that case, UW would have to play the 2010 season away from Husky Stadium before the stadium is ready in 2011, or possibly even 2012.

"There's a tremendous amount of work left to be done," Turner said. "Right now we've got a lot of guesses and estimates. We don't have a lot of exact facts and figures."

Turner would only estimate the cost of the project as "hundreds of millions of dollars." Officials aren't ruling out any method of fundraising, including premium seating, ticket surcharges and possibly even selling corporate naming rights to the stadium.

"There's not going to be a single sword that cuts this thing," Evans said.

The renovation project includes replacing all 40,000 lower-bowl seats. Evans said the plan is to remove the track and lower the field by about eight feet, allowing seven to 10 extra rows of seats. The front row in the west end zone would be 86 feet closer to the field.

In the west end of the stadium, UW would build new facilities for the football program, including offices, a weight room and suites. An adjacent parking garage would have 1,200 parking spots.

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The plan also includes:

• New scoreboards on the north and south sides, allowing the removal of the east scoreboard for an unobscured view of Lake Washington.

• 50 percent more concession stands.

• 50 percent more women's restrooms and 30 percent more men's restrooms.

• Seven more elevators.

• Improving seating access.

• New press box.

Evans said the committee expects to make its final report to the Board of Regents on Nov. 15.

Notes

• UCLA quarterback Ben Olsen (headaches) was not cleared to practice Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Daily News, only adding to the likelihood that backup Pat Cowan will start Saturday. Huskies coach Tyrone Willingham said the uncertainty of who will start "does kind of dilute what you can do in the course of a week in your normal game preparation."

• LB Dan Howell (knee), RB Brandon Johnson (ribs) and CB Byron Davenport (hamstring) are expected to make the trip to UCLA after practicing this week.

Tom Wyrwich: 206-515-5653 or twyrwich@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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