The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday December 7th

UNC football players eagerly await expansions at Kenan Football Center

A blueprint of the new terrace add-on to Kenan Stadium. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Sharpe.
Buy Photos A blueprint of the new terrace add-on to Kenan Stadium. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Sharpe.

Construction on additions to the North Carolina football team’s Kenan Football Center began in early August and will continue throughout the 2022 season.

The additions are being made on the northwest side of the stadium, close to the intersection of South Road and Stone Center Drive. 

The additions will include upgrades and increased space in the players’ lounge, weight room, locker room, the team’s outdoor area, training room, equipment room, study areas, coaches’ offices and player meeting rooms. 

Junior defensive lineman Myles Murphy expressed excitement for the new Kenan Football Center player's lounge terrace, which includes a plaza for visitors and an outdoor basketball court. 

“I can’t wait to see it,” he said. “I hope it gets done real soon; we’re going to have a basketball court and all that.”

The estimated $15 million in renovations and expansions, which the UNC Board of Trustees approved in May of 2021, will be funded entirely by the Rams Club.

The Kenan Football Center was first built in 1997. This project marks yet another improvement to football facilities during head coach Mack Brown’s second tenure in Chapel Hill.

One of the first improvements under Brown’s most recent stint with the Tar Heels was a $5 million locker and weight room renovation — completed during the summer of 2019. This improvement installed 120 new lockers and added nine new weight racks, while redoing the design of each room. The team spent an additional $2 million that year converting the field from grass to synthetic turf. 

Prior to the current additions, UNC also renovated the first floor of the Kenan Football Center in the spring of 2020.  

The total investments to the football team during Brown’s second tenure have a price tag of somewhere around $22 million and have improved a number of facilities including the weight room, locker room and football field. 

“I’m a little jealous,” senior offensive lineman Asim Richards said of the ongoing changes to Kenan Stadium and the center. “I don’t know if I’m going to get to see all the new renovations, but there’s some great things coming to Kenan.” 

Sophomore linebacker Raneiria "RaRa" Dillworth, who joined the team after the completion of many of the additions and improvements made during Brown’s second tenure, also shared his excitement about these new changes.

“I really like it, because the recruits get it when they first come in, but we see it every day on a day-to-day basis," he said. "It’s really cool and fun and it will really help us expand.” 

As college football facilities continue to improve across the country, the additions and improvements to Kenan Stadium under Brown become increasingly important for the Tar Heels' football program to stay competitive in the recruiting field. In the ACC alone, Clemson, Florida State, Louisville and Virginia Tech, among others, are currently renovating or have recently renovated their football facilities.

This round of investment in the football team, however, is much smaller in scale compared to the improvements made during Brown’s first tenure with the Tar Heels, which saw the addition of 8,000 seats, a new football field and the Frank H. Kenan Football Center. 

Still, Dillworth believes these recent additions will help Brown and UNC sway recruits to become Tar Heels. 

“It’ll probably help, but coach Mack Brown and his staff are doing really good with their job, and it just builds onto that," he said.

UNC fans will get an opportunity to see the additions and renovations up close during the Tar Heels' home opener against the Florida A&M Rattlers on Saturday, Aug. 27 at 8 p.m.

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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