The west side of Williams-Brice Stadium will get a slight makeover by kickoff in August as a preview of the major overhaul planned next year around the home of the Gamecocks.
USC plans to install a 29-foot-by-51-foot lighted sign outside the stadium on a concrete column with a Gamecock logo and Williams Brice Stadium, according to plans submitted to Columbia city officials.
The garnet sign will go at the top of the concrete wall facing Bluff Road and the Gamecock Park, the schools gameday tailgating lot at the former State Farmers Market site. A long banner could go below the sign, according to the plans that will be considered Tuesday by the Columbia Zoning Board of Appeals.
The current stadium-name lettering was too low for fans to see, said Kevin OConnell, the athletics departments chief operating officer. Athletics director Ray Tanner suggested a sign visible from Gamecock Park and to add the block C logo like the school installed on the back of the video board on the north side of the stadium, he said.
The $200,000 aluminum sign will be paid for from department revenues, OConnell said.
What the banner underneath the sign will look like has not been decided, he said.
After the season, USC will transform the parking lot around Williams-Brice stadium into a $14 million tree-lined pedestrian plaza that mimics the design across Bluff Road at Gamecock Park. Cars will move to a new lot along Key Road. A statue of Heisman trophy winner George Rogers will go on the northwest corner of the stadium plaza.
The Gamecocks have made upgrades to attract fans in recent years, notably with Gamecock Park, through which the players walk two hours before kickoff.
Inside the stadium. the school is working on improving The Zone club area and Scholarship Lounges for Gamecock Club members before USC meets Texas A&M on Aug. 28, OConnell said.
For the team, the outdoor practice fields at the back of Gamecock Park should open in the fall. The indoor practice building, which also is at the back of the tailgating lot, is scheduled to open in May 2015, OConnell said.