Arkansas State University is experiencing some serious cosmetic changes.
Coach Blake Anderson coined the phrase “Building a Monster” for the football team years ago, but it extends way beyond the sidelines of Centennial Bank Stadium. Perhaps the University should adopt the slogan campus-wide.
Currently, there are two major construction projects going on in Jonesboro, both of which are on the campus of Arkansas State. One is a convention center along Red Wolf Blvd., just south of Centennial Bank Stadium, and the other is a waterfall—um, excuse me, a water fixture — inside the football stadium on each side of the North end zone.
The “Embassy Suites by Hilton Hotel and Convention Center”, as it is formally known, has only recently begun construction but is projected to be finished sometime in early 2019.
The North end zone water fixture was announced in June of 2017 and is (supposedly) on track to be finished by the beginning of football season (Sep. 1). The project also includes a renovation of the end zone bleachers to feature a tunnel from the new athletic training facility (more on that later). Why a waterfall, you may ask? Well, it is considered a “unique fixture to pay homage to the great state of Arkansas, the Natural State.”
Add these newest projects to the list of improvements and changes the University has gone through in the last few years.
In 2013, Liberty Bank bought the naming rights to what was then ASU Stadium. In 2014, Centennial Bank bought out Liberty Bank, thus absolving the naming rights. That was the first major domino to fall.
From there, the University built one of the most magnificent entryways you’ll find in all of college football, which finished construction just prior to the 2015 season. Known as “Johnny Allison Tower”, the entryway features several press boxes, private club seating and more.
Johnny Allison Tower was accompanied by another project back in 2014, the Student Activities Center. This 78,000-sq. ft. facility finished construction prior to the 2015 football season and is located directly behind the northern end of Centennial Bank Stadium. It is one of the largest contributing factors to the North end zone renovations, which center around the tunnel that will lead from the Activities Center through the middle of the end zone bleachers and onto the field. The water fixture is just a bonus.
From Athletics to Academics
On top of the renovations centered around athletics, the University also opened the Humanities and Social Sciences Building in the fall of 2015. The building serves as the primary academic building on campus, housing several colleges. It was coined as the “center of the campus” due to the fact that it is physically located in the middle of the campus, but also because it houses such a vast number of classes in nearly every field of study that it seems impossible for a student to graduate without having several classes within its walls. As of its construction, it was one of the top-five largest academic buildings in the state of Arkansas.
In short, if you haven’t been to Jonesboro since 2013, you may not even recognize it anymore.