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Vaught-Hemingway renovations will further enhance game day atmosphere at Ole Miss

Vaught-Hemingway renovations will further enhance game day atmosphere at Ole Miss

With the renovations to Vaught-Hemingway stadium set to be completed prior to the first Ole Miss home football game against Wofford on September 10th, the game day atmosphere will be different this fall. Not only will the enhancement to VHS provide an aesthetic revitalization including a lot of new glass around the entrance and near walls that allows for a lot of natural light inside, it will also provide a spark to the game-day atmosphere for Rebel nation.

This is the second phase of renovations to the beloved home of Ole Miss football as part of the Forward Together campaign that was launched in 2011. Not only does it enclose and seal in an already intimidating atmosphere for opponents, but it also provides a breathtaking ‘front door’ into the stadium from the Grove.

Additionally, the Walk of Champions will now have an ending as glorious as its origin. From the archway that bares its name, to the newly renovated North end zone of the new and improved Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at Jerry Hollingsworth field, the new look of the stadium is something Rebel nation can be proud of and look forward to enjoying in the future. In addition to the capacity tipping over 64,000 once the project is completed, there will also be two new video boards added in the corners of the South end zone.

The new entrance plaza (front door) that leads you into the stadium and concludes the Walk of Champions will be a surreal experience for fans, not only the first time they experience it, but each time they attend a game in Oxford. Upon seeing a newly-completed, and fully accessible concourse, as well as the sight of red and blue completely surrounding the field of play, some fans might just break down. From the bowling-in of the South end zone in 2002 until now. It’s been a journey years in the making.

Also returning to the stadium for the first time since 2002, will be a natural grass playing surface. The transformation and installation of the grass has been fun to follow on twitter.

The “New Normal”

Yes, times they are a changin’ around Ole Miss athletics, and the football program and its ascension into the elite of SEC is at the center of that. The ‘New Normal’ is what it is commonly referred to on social media. To look at renderings of the completed renovations to VHS alongside the magnificent, new Pavilion is a sight that has still yet to sink in fully for me. With a campus that already garners praise from various sources year in and year out, it appears Ole Miss is only solidifying its lead with the new and ongoing upgrades in athletic facilities.

Looking ahead to the 2017 season

Looking ahead to the 2017 season, the final component of phase two of VHS renovations will be completed. There will be a bell tower added in the entrance plaza area, thanks to a gift from the Lloyd family. It is the intention and belief of the family that the tower will come to represent–and ring–for all things positive related to the university. In fact, there are many new traditions that are expected to originate around the Lloyd Bell Tower.

The following are excerpts from Bill Dabney on givetoathletics.com about the future of the bell tower:

  • “Our hope is that the bell tower can be seen and its chimes be heard from one end of campus to the other.” – Bob Lloyd
  • “On game day, special tone of the Rebel bell will signal game time – time to take that jovial Grove attitude and bring that energy to the Vaught with a swagger and confidence that says, ‘This is our day and our house!'” – Bob Lloyd
  • “We would like the bell to ring to ring loud and proud for each and everything positive Ole Miss, such as a new Rhodes Scholar, a women’s volleyball victory, a professor being named best in the SEC, a new recruit commit, alumni being honored – any positive event that Ole Miss ways tot celebrate.” – Ted Lloyd

Being a fan and follower of recruiting, the thought of the bell ringing for a commit is pretty cool. That could also influence the use of a new hashtag among coaches, staff, fans, etc. on social media, maybe #DingDong. The tower is expected to be unveiled at the 2017 spring game.

The new look and “New Normal” at Ole Miss is a beautiful sight for Rebels’ fans. The potential of Ole Miss Athletics has never looked brighter and there is no end in sight. Not only is Director of Athletics Ross Bjork firmly guiding the push in the SEC facilities race, but Hugh Freeze is guiding the football team to great heights on the gridiron.

More wins, as well as more traditions, are on the horizon for Ole Miss and it is an exciting time to be a member of Rebel Nation!

About The Author

John Luke McCord

John Luke covers all sports for The Rebel Walk and also writes about high school football for the Southern Elite Sports network, most frequently for SES Mississippi. John Luke is from Tupelo and is the Host of The Buzz on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-3 p.m. on 95.1 FM in Tupelo. He is also a frequent co-host of Mississippi Sports Today with Craig Horton on ESPN 96.3 FM, The Ticket, from 7-9 a.m. in Tupelo.

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